Long Beach asks for residents’ input on proposed Belmont Pool replacement project

The city is asking residents for feedback on the types of programming and transportation services that could be provided by the city at the proposed Belmont Beach and Aquatics Center, which is still awaiting final approval from the California Coastal Commission.

The survey asks residents to rank factors that are important to them regarding the new pool that could replace the old Belmont Pool, which was demolished in 2014 due to seismic issues. The factors listed in the survey include parking, transportation to the facility, fees, outdoor swimming options and types of classes offered.

One of the questions on the survey also asks respondents if they would prefer more programming and transportation options to their local pool, rather than to the proposed aquatics center.

Developing a more equitable plan for all residents to be able to use the new $85 million pool complex was a stipulation placed on the project in February when the Coastal Commission gave the project preliminary approval.

Commissioners said in February that the city’s plan to transport children from 11 different parks in disadvantaged areas to the new facility in Belmont Shore and reduce rates charged to the city’s youth for admission was not sufficient.

The commission asked that the city return with a more detailed plan for how the new pool complex would be made available to the entire city, something the city expects to do early in the commission’s 2022 meeting calendar.

The pool has faced a number of obstacles since the city initiated the process to replace the old complex, including legal challenges from residents hoping to block the project outright, the roughly $20 million funding gap that the city has yet to close and the design of the pool, which had to be revised after the Coastal Commission said the design was too tall and vulnerable to sea-level rise.

City officials said the city currently has about $61.5 million in Tidelands Funds, funds which can be used only in the coastal zone, set aside for the project that is projected to cost at least $85 million.

Completing the pool before the 2028 Olympics has been identified as a priority for the city and the Coastal Commission could decide in early 2022 if the project can finally move forward.

The survey can be accessed here and is available in English, Spanish, Khmer and Tagalog.

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Jason Ruiz has been covering City Hall for the Post for nearly a decade. A Long Beach resident, Ruiz graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in journalism. He and his wife Kristina and, most importantly, their dog Mango, live in Long Beach. He is a particularly avid fan of the Dallas Cowboys and the UCLA Bruins, which is why he sometimes comes to work after the weekend in a grumpy mood.