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The Fayette Board of Alderman gave unanimous approval to pledge $10,000 toward a project to renovate and upgrade the Fayette City Pool. The unanimous decision was voted for during the council’s …
The Fayette Board of Alderman gave unanimous approval to pledge $10,000 toward a project to renovate and upgrade the Fayette City Pool. The unanimous decision was voted for during the council’s regular meeting on Tuesday, October 11.
However, the money would only go toward the project if a Land and Water grant is approved for the project by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. The Fayette Historic Preservation Commission, with assistance from the Friends of Historic Fayette Memorial Pool, is writing the grant application, which could be for as much as $500,000, for a 50/50 matching grant for the project. If approved, the Department would award the City of Fayette up to $250,000, the rest of which would have to be matched by donations and in-kind work. Work would begin in 2024.
The pool, which also serves as a World War I Memorial, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a City of Fayette Local Historic Landmark. It was built in 1936 as a Works Progress Administration project and is one of more than 130 above-ground swimming pools designed by architect Wesley Bintz between 1919 and the 1950s. Approximately a dozen of these “Bintz” pools are still in operation.
Proposed renovations include adding lifts to the second floor and into the pool and adding a bathroom to the lobby to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. Other upgrades would include electrical rewiring, adding exit and emergency lighting, and replacing bathroom windows.
Despite the pool’s historic value, it has faced setbacks in recent years regarding its ability to operate. It was forced to close early in the 2022 season due to a bad water pump.
Ann Schnell with the Friends of the Historic Fayette Memorial Pool, and Pam Hutsell with the Historic Preservation Commission, are spearheading the grant project, which included a recent upgrade to the pool’s feasibility study last year. Both groups are asking organizations, businesses, and community members to make pledges and submit letters supporting the project. The grant application must be postmarked by November 16.
A Letter to the Editor printed in the October 12 Fayette Advertiser asked members of the community and organizations to help reach the goal of $250,000. “Any amount you can donate/pledge would be greatly appreciated. Once our renovations are complete, our donors will be recognized on a plaque at the pool and in the newspaper,” the letter read.
The letter also asked for letters of support from organizations and individuals, along with any financial pledges, to be submitted by October 31, 2022. Submissions should be directed to City Clerk Tara Kunze at City Hall.
Alderpersons raised concerns over the size of the grant being sought. In 2020, the city famously had to turn down a similar grant to fund improvements to Ricketts-Graham Lake because it could not come up with the matching funds required after the grant had been awarded.
“It put the city in an extremely awkward situation,” recalled Southwest Ward Alderman Grafton Cook.
However, Schnell explained that the application would only be for the already pledged amount. For instance, if only $50,000 is pledged toward the project by the time the application is due, the groups would only apply for a grant in the amount of $100,000.
“We’re giving them a $10,000 start to say that we’re taking this project seriously, and this gives them a leg to stand on when they're asking for other pledges,” said Fayette Mayor Jeremy Dawson.
If the grant is awarded, the pledged $10,000 would be worked into a future budget to account for the expense.
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