Renderings courtesy of the City of Long Beach.
Almost exactly one month ago, the City of Long Beach unveiled its plans for the new $103.1 million Belmont Pool, that long-awaited structure set to replace the historic facility used for many an aquatics-related, Olympic-qualifying event.
They unveiled the plan, with community input, and the results were objectively sleek.
“The main project goals were, how do we meet the everyday needs of local residents and at the same time be flexible for different types of users, on a regional scale, for swim and dive meets?” said Rachael Tanner, a management assistant in the city manager’s office.
The city worked with residents, architects and prominent members of the local aquatic community to complete the designs, which feature such amenities as an indoor natatorium with spectator seating, multiple outdoor pools with space available for temporary spectator seating, aquatic support spaces, administrative spaces, restaurant and beach walk-up service (to be operated by a vendor) and an outdoor park/plazas for gathering, viewing and enjoying the SoCal lifestyle.
The pictures say it all: designed to be contemporary, the renderings show a space inspired by billowing sails, with a modern edge, as well as multiple sustainability features. A sweeping, semi-tinted glass roof will encase the indoor pool area, appearing as a lightly curved dome around the facility.
To the uninitiated, Long Beach residents bid adieu to the Belmont Pool when demolition crews tore down what was left of it in December 2014, due to earthquake safety concerns. In October 2014, the City Council gave the City Manager the green light to finalize the plan for a new pool designed to take the 1960s landmark’s place.
“It’s a one-of-a-kind site for a facility like this, on the waterfront,” said Tanner. “I think we did right by the history of the old building.”
Tanner was quick to point out a 12-foot wall built to block out the sound of swim competitions for area residents.
To cut to the chase, aquatics-wise, at least four different pools of varying length and depth will be located in the facility. One indoor 50 meter by 25 yard pool with two moveable bulkheads and a movable floor will sit adjacent to an indoor shallow teaching and therapy pool, as well as indoor whirlpools for recreational users and divers, according to the plans. Permanent indoor seating will offer the legions of swim and dive fans frequenting Belmont Shore a place to take in the competition.
On the outside, one 50 meter by 25 meter pool with one moveable bulkhead will sit next to outdoor recreational pools.
According to the timeline created by the city, events are still running on time, with the next step being requested community input on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) until June 16. Commenters are asked to contribute their thoughts, as outlined on the “comments” page.
Though events have run smoothly thus far, future progress will be dependent on funding from the city—and, since the depends on oil revenue, such funding is not guaranteed, given the current drop in the resource’s price.
Still, city organizers are pushing ahead, in hopes the pool can be completed at the earliest possible date, and that increased funding for capital projects possibly emerges in the future. For now, the show is going on.
For this next stage, the city is focused on continuing the outlined schedule as planned, and generating as much community input as possible.
“We’re hopeful we can identify sources of funding,” said Tanner. “We’ll have to cross that bridge when we get there.”