Rising costs could stall project to renovate former pool building

The old swimming pool building at Grove Holman Park in Owosso is shown Tuesday.

OWOSSO — First, COVID-19 delayed action on rehabilitating the former swimming pool building in Grove Holman Park.

Now, some shockingly high bids on the cost to renovate the building to feature a warming center and bathroom facilities may have stalled the project.

Owosso Parks and Recreation Commission members could decide what happens next at a meeting set for 7 p.m. Jan. 26.

City officials bid the project out in late December, estimating the cost at about $200,000. Earlier, Owosso won a $150,000 state grant to put toward the project.

But of the three bids that were submitted, the lowest was $434,000, twice the anticipated amount.

The highest bid was just shy of $500,000.

Prices for materials have increased during the pandemic, possibly partly explaining why the bids were high. Assistant to the City Manager Amy Fuller said the architect on the project was shocked by the numbers, especially given the building’s basic structural integrity.

The old pool building has sat empty for years, its interior having been damaged by a fire several years ago.

Once it is renovated, the structure will boast a warming area with chairs and tables, restrooms relocated for greater accessibility and a concession area in which area nonprofits and other groups can sell hot chocolate and other items, city officials have said.

In addition, the building will be fitted out with electrical, plumbing and heating; a new ceiling and flooring; and new paint.

The renovation plan was formed to give new life to the building, which used to be the locker room and bathrooms for the old city pool.

The $150,000 grant, awarded in 2020 by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Recreation Passport program, requires a 25 percent city match of $50,000.

The 6-acre Grove Holman Park, off M-52 south along South Walnut Street, also boasts a large sledding hill and a skate park.

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