Last week, collaboration at its finest took place between USC head diving Coach Hong Ping Li, USA National Team Director Frank Busch, Long Beach Councilmember Gary DeLong, and related stakeholders in regards to the permanent reconstruction of the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool. Busch urged the importance on the proper make over of the new Belmont to be a world-class, state of the art facility. Preliminarydesign work is to be available in 4-6 weeks thus closing the temporary pool that was built this past winter, but not indefinitely. The temporary pool will stay open until the full construction of the new Belmont Plaza, then be moved west to become a permanent outdoor in ground pool.
The debate of the adding the diving platform almost over. The upgraded Belmont Plaza may have a full diving well that includes a 10-meter platform. Councilmember DeLong not only approved this, but wouldn’t endorse construction unless the diving well was guaranteed to be installed, receiving strong support from Fourth District Councilman Patrick O’Donnell. Though Councilmemeber DeLong fully endorsed the idea, the City staff has not made an official executive decision, though things are looking in favor of the completely separate diving well. Though after the initial run-around conducted by the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), the subject is still hazy and could possibly only include just a diving area rather than a full separate tank.
“This is a great day for Long Beach,” DeLong said. “We are here tonight to approve creation of a world-class aquatic facility, and I’m confident that we will take that next step. I think the staff has made a great start here, but there are some improvements I think we can add. That will absolutely include a diving well indoors.”
This would not only impact the USA swimming world as a whole but also impact Long Beach financially. If done correctly, the monetary benefit would be very positive, based off experience and numbers from the Greensboro, North Carolina aquatic facility make over.
Requirements put forth by the stakeholders included 1) the primary 50M by 25M indoor pool to have a minimum 8′ uniform depth throughout, 2) office space for staff and for coaches, 3) locker rooms on the deck level for participants, 4) spectator seating for a minimum of 1,500, 5) adequate restroom facilities on both the deck and spectator levels, 6) a weight room/training area, 7) a snack bar/cafe for participants and spectators, 8) a dryland training area for divers, 9) a swim store, 10) a room for VIP hospitality and special events, and 11) a design that incorporates the view of the beach to the south of the facility. A couple of the stakeholders would like to see the permanent outdoor pool to be placed on the beach side of the indoor facility.
The Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool Facebook page states they are permanently closed due to seismic concerns. A push from the Long Beach community and USA Swimming may be just what the Belmont needs to restore the glory of this historic facility.