The Belmont Temporary Pool was recognized by the American Public Works Association (APWA) Southern California Chapter when it received the Project of the Year Award at ceremony in Lakewood last week.

The $5.3 million dollar pool built in the wake of the closure of the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in February 2013 after inspections found the facility to be structurally unsafe. The temporary pool which opened to the public December 19, 2013 was constructed with materials that could be reused or sold after the permanent Belmont Plaza Pool structure is completed. The temporary pool was awarded in the Creative and Innovative category for “demonstrating resourcefulness and the use of imagination.”

“I think it was the balance between temporary and permanence that they found interesting,” said Rachael Tanner, program specialist in the City Manager’s office. “It was a temporary design that went up in less than a year and it wasn’t built just to be bulldozed.”

The temporary pool opened to the public with much fanfare including a ribbon cutting ceremony and the attendance of former Olympic athletes.

“We haven’t had a year-round public pool since 1990,” Long Beach Swim Club Coach Teresa Pascuzzo told the Post at the opening ceremony last December. “This is a godsend to the aquatics community.”

After the closure of the Belmont Pool, the city was adamant about providing a holdover for the aquatics community in Long Beach. It was constructed in the parking lot adjacent to the existing facility and was paid for with Tidelands Funds. The temporary pool was designed by RJM Design Group and constructed by OK Earl Corporation and incorporated a moveable bulkhead to be able to accommodate a variety of swim events. The entire installation process was completed in ten months.

Mayor Robert Garcia said that the award is a testament to the quality facility that was provided to swimmers and divers alike during the construction period of the new Belmont Pool facility; a project that has proven to be as controversial as it is expensive.

“This award affirms what the Long Beach community already knows: The pool is a world-class facility that has allowed our residents to stay active and healthy until a permanent replacement pool is built,” Mayor Robert Garcia said.

The APWA is a non-profit organization with 63 chapters across North America. that prides itself on contributing to a higher and more sustainable quality of life. The Temporary Belmont Pool joins the North Long Beach Police Substation (2005), Temple and Willow Project (2000), Queensway Bridge Project (1999) and the Civic Center Energy Conservation Program (1998) to win the APWA’s Project of the Year Award.

Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.