(The Center Square) – Michigan’s 2024 budget should make a splash in at least three communities approved for taxpayer-funded public pool repairs.
The record-setting $82 billion budget funds $7.6 million for public pools repairs: $6.2 million for Moore’s Park pool in Lansing, $1.2 million for the Forest Brook pool in Ann Arbor, and $200,000 for an Ypsilanti pool.
Lansing Director of Communication Scott Bean said Moore’s Park pool opened in 1922, but after nearly 100 years, closed in 2019 because it was “badly leaking” despite repairs.
Bean said a local nonprofit, Preservation Lansing, formed a Save the Pool committee and is working with Lansing to raise additional private funds for future maintenance needs. Former Lansing city engineer Wesley Bintz designed the pool.
Bean expects to receive the funds soon after Oct. 1, 2023, so the city can hire a firm to asses the repairs and provide a timeline.
“We had a study done just over a year ago to assess the costs with making repairs and some upgrades,” Bean wrote The Center Square in an email. “Once the budget is effective on October 1, we are hoping to get the funds quickly and get a firm hired to begin an in-depth study and give us options on costs.”
Lansing Mayor Andy Schor posted pictures on Facebook on July 24 with Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist in front of the historic pool, celebrating the funding. Located along the historic Lansing River Trail near a playground, Moore’s Park pool provided a free place for Lansing residents to cool off during summer heatwaves.
When asked about spending the $1.2 million at the Ypsilanti pool, The Forest Brook Pool pointed The Center Square to Rep. Felicia Brabec, D-Pittsfield Township, who hasn’t yet responded to a request for comment.
Michigan’s 2024 budget is a whopping $82 billion as the state grapples with population loss with mostly younger people leaving the state. A recent report estimates that 270,000 more people will leave Michigan by 2050.
Whitmer tweeted on July 25: “From our lakes, great and small, to the rivers that run through our communities: water defines Michigan. We’re continuing to invest in upgrading our water infrastructure to improve public health, care for the environment, and preserve our state for future generations.”
The budget also includes a $1 million splash pad in Ann Arbor, $900,000 for a cricket field in Troy, and a $200,000 splash pad in Novi Parks.
According to Republican lawmakers, Michigan Democrats holding a political trifecta for the first time in 40 years spent about $1 billion of pork in the 2024 budget.
From fiscal year 2017-24, spending ballooned from $55.8 billion to $82 billion – a spending increase of $26 billion.
Republicans say the general spending increase is unsustainable with a shrinking resident tax base and will bring future tax hikes.