Putnam: Historic Pool Staying Open For Now But For How Long?

Moores Park pool was designed by Wesley Bintz in 1922 is a unique design built into the side of a hill and features under the pool dressing rooms and bench seating to view the pool. It is owned by the city of Lansing and is free to the public.(Photo: Robert Killips/Lansing State Journal)Buy Photo

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LANSING – Moores Park pool will close for the season soon but it won’t be drained for good, Lansing’s parks director says.

Brett Kaschinske said rumors are floating that the city plans to pull the plug permanently on the 94-year-old pool, believed to be the oldest municipal pool in continuous use in the country. It’s one of two outdoor pools owned by the city. (It was designed in 1922 and opened in 1923.)

“I can tell you this. It is a rumor. We are planning the pool will close at the end of the season, and we’re planning it will open next year,” he said.

Here’s the rub, though. The 285,000-gallon oval pool needs extensive work to replace aging parts.

“For instance, we know that the pipes need replacing. Are we able to patch? Yes, we have patched. When will that become a major problem? I can’t predict that,” Kaschinske said.

He said that it would take $700,000 to renovate the pool and bring it up to modern compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. That’s not adding extra features, just keeping it running as it is.

Related:

Residents bike to save Moores Park pavilion

From the archives: Moores Park pool

The pool is accessible now, Kaschinske said, but any major renovation would trigger a requirement that it be brought up to full compliance with the ADA.

The pool, at 420 Moores River Drive, sits within view of the triple towers — dubbed Wynken, Blynken and Nod — at the Eckert power plant along the Grand River. 

Jeff Potter, a member of the Lansing Bike Party, a riding group that supports Lansing parks, said he fears that means the pool could be mothballed if a major break occurs that can’t be patched.

“There’s no plan to close the pool, but there is no plan for funding  to repair the pool,” he pointed out.

His group wants to raise awareness of the pool’s heritage and that of the stone structures in the park. A pavilion in the park needs extensive repairs and was closed in May.

Related: Lansing residents get their say, finally, on the future of historic property

The aging Moores Park Pool is one of two outdoor pools owned by the city that are free and open to the public.

This year, the city paid the YMCA of Metropolitan Lansing to operate the pools.

Both Kaschinske and Jeff Scheibel, the Y’s president and CEO, said it’s been a good arrangement.

It only makes sense, Scheibel said, as the Y hires and trains lifeguards year round and is the area’s largest provider of swim lessons.

“Job no. 1 is keeping kids safe around water,” Scheibel said.

He said many lifeguards this summer are Lansing high school students.

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Jeff Scheibel, president and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Lansing, shows the red and green wristbands July 26, 2017. The green bands are for those who pass a swim test. (Photo: Judy Putnam/Lansing State Journal)

New this year is a swim test for kids ages 5-12. Kids who can pass the test are given a green band while others wear a red band so they can easily be identified if they wander into the deep end of the pool.

Children 4 and younger must have an adult in the water with them.

Kaschinske said the Y arrangement has worked well. He said it was revenue neutral for the city, passing along $198,000 to the Y to operate the outdoor pools and one community center pool.

“I am very happy with that and intend on continuing the relationship,” he said.

Moores Park and Hunter Park pools are open noon to 4 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. each day. They are free and open to the public, even nonresidents.

If you want to take a dip in the Moores Park pool, you better hurry. The season ends Aug. 19. The Hunter Park pool, 1400 E. Kalamazoo, is open through Sept. 4.

Kaschinske said Moores Park closes earlier as many of the lifeguards are college students who need to return to campus.

Judy Putnam is a columnist with the Lansing State Journal. Contact her at (517) 267-1304 or at jputnam@lsj.com.

Source : http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/opinion/columnists/judy-putnam/2017/08/11/lansings-free-historic-pool-moores-park/557005001/

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