The Long Beach swimming community had their voices heard and recognized on Tuesday night, when the City Council approved a $103.7 million budget for the new Belmont Pool Project designed to replace the now-demolished Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool, according to Gazettes.com.
The design, driven primarily by the “stakeholders” who will be specifically using the pool, will be more-or-less the full package that the local aquatics communities have asked for, albeit with a price tag that non-users have balked at.
The pool will feature:
- an indoor 50-meter pool
- an outdoor 50-meter pool
- a separate indoor diving well
- 1,250 seats (for an extra $4.7 million on top of the proposed 650-seat plan)
- separate teaching, recreation, and therapy pools
- a movable floor on the indoor pool to accommodate different uses.
To help reduce the costs of the pool, the following changes were made from the original plans presented last June:
- no banquet hall
- reducing the size of the restaurant
- “adjustments” in several bathroom facilities in the Tidelands Fund
The Tidelands Fund has become a significant factor in the pool. This City of Long Beach government fund comes primarily from profits earned from the city’s oil profits, which earned $46.1 million in the 2012-2013 fiscal year. It is also funded by leases for the Queen Mary boat that docks in the city and the Pike at Rainbow Harbor. By shifting allotments to different beach restrooms, which also draw their money from the fund, the City of Long Beach was able to satisfy its council that the money would be available to fund a full-scale Belmont Plaza project.
There was a casing to the promises for funds, however. The estimates of revenue to the Tidelands Fund were made based on an assumption of $100 a barrel for the price of crude oil. As of posting, the price of crude was trading around $82 a barrel (though it is trending upward). City Council members were careful to point out this gap, and say that if crude prices didn’t return closer to the highs they’ve been experiencing in the last few years, that they would have to seek an alternative source of funding.
While driven partially because of high labor costs in California, the price tag will make the Belmont pool one of the priciest ever constructed in the United States (though it pales in comparison, for example, to the $300 million it cost to build the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Sports Complex pool in Dubai to host the 2010 World Short Course Championships).
Other projects of a similar scale, for comparison:
- Conroe ISD Natatorium , Conroe, Texas (host of the 2013 NCAA D3 Championships) – 1,000 seats, no movable floor, Cost: $14 million
- Planned University of Wisconsin Pool – at least* 1,500 seats, no movable floor, separate diving well, Cost: $26 million