The Huntingdon Valley Swim Club, which last summer was the center of a heated racial debate, may finally bring it’s dreadful saga to an end.
Last summer, when a North East Philadelphia summer camp, made mostly of minority campers, doled out $1900 to allow its campers to use the pool. After 1 day, and a vote from its membership, the club contacted the camp directors to inform them that their campers were suspended from the pool, and that their money would be refunded.
Now, the club, which has been the site of many protests since then, has found a buyer in the form of the Artisans Order of Mutual Protection, a freemason-like organization that provides mutual insurance for its membership. The AOMP has made a $1-million dollar offer on the 10.5 acre property, which they believe to be fair, despite being about half of the property’s appraised value per the club.
The sale was necesarry following the bankruptcy of the Valley Swim Club due to huge expenses from lawsuits, negative publicity, inquiries by both the state and federal government, and heaps of public criticism.
Although the issue was not directly related to a competitive swim club, it was certainly a blow to a sport that, over the last several years, has dedicated scores of resources towards dispelling the stigma that swimming is a wealthy, whites-only sport: both through the competitive arm of USA-Swimming as well as minority and urban outreach programs centered around aquatics safety.
The AOMP has several options for how to handle the property if and when the purchase goes through. In addition to maintaining it as a private swim club for its members, they could open it up for public memberships, remove the pool and develop the property as something else, or simply hold it as an investment.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the lawyer handling the Valley Club’s bankrupcy claims to have received a bid closer to the original $2 million dollar appraisal, which is a claim that was unable to be substansiated.