The ever-famous, and recently infamous, Belmont Plaza Pool has been closed permanently in an announcement Monday by Long Beach city officials. According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, engineers found that the pool was seismically unsafe.
The pool was closed temporarily on January 10th while engineers expected, and their ultimate decision was that the pool couldn’t be reopened.
The Belmont Pool has been a fixture in Southern California since it opened in August of 1968, especially with a modern budget squeeze that has precluded the construction of many indoor pools in recent years. The scramble to find an alternative facility to host the four NCAA conference championship meets that were scheduled to be hosted there, including moving the men’s Pac-12 Championship meet to Seattle.
In the short-term, the city council is exploring several options, though all seem to lend toward completing some sort of replacement. A $4.2 million temporary facility, similar to those used for the 2004 Olympic Trials, is already in planning, with a $54 million-$62 million permanent replacement being a long-term aim. Read more details here on the City Council’s agenda for their February 12th meeting. The cost of making the necessary upgrades to the old Belmont Pool were estimated at $23 million in themselves – roughly 7-times the original cost of the pool’s construction.
The Belmont Plaza “Olympic” pool was so-named as it was the host for the 1968 and 1976 U.S. Olympic swimming trials. Other big meets hosted there include the 1974 and 1978 NCAA Championship meets, and was part of Los Angeles’ bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics as a diving venue.