LONG BEACH - City officials announced Monday that the Belmont Plaza Pool will be permanently shuttered because of structural safety problems.

The pool was temporarily closed Jan. 10 after a draft structural and seismic evaluation indicated the facility was seismically unsafe in the event of a moderate earthquake. Officials closed the pool, located south of Ocean Boulevard at the end of Termino Avenue in Belmont Shore, while city engineers reviewed the analysis and inspected the facility to confirm the extent of its structural safety.

Long Beach's building official and city engineer "have reviewed the final report and determined the Belmont Pool Natatorium, in its current condition, is a substandard building that is seismically and structurally unsafe," city officials said in a statement.

City staff will be recommending to the City Council the construction of a new permanent facility that "balances recreational and competitive swimming needs," officials said.

The proposed facility would include a natatorium in the approximate location of the existing Belmont Pool, and a new outdoor pool immediately north of the existing facility.

Officials said the proposed facility will be able to host all competitive swim and water polo events that currently take place there, while adding water space.

The new pool would cost $54 million to $62 million, depending on added features, and construction would take two to three years to complete, officials said.


Advertisement

How exactly this would be funded in a city that has struggled with budget deficits wasn't explained.

City staff members will present the proposal at the Feb. 12 council meeting, seeking direction on whether to proceed.

Four interim options will also be presented, officials said. One of those options is the construction of a temporary outdoor pool in the adjacent parking lot that could be ready in five to eight months, though it would need California Coastal Commission approval.

Officials said it would be similar to the facility built during the 2004 Olympic swim trials in downtown Long Beach. The temporary site would cost $4.2 million.

Five years ago, recreation planners wanted to replace the Belmont Plaza Pool with a new NCAA-caliber swim competition facility rather than refurbish what they describe as its "severe structural deficiencies."

Officials also wanted a community-serving Long Beach Aquatics Center in the downtown area.

Both facilities were on a wish-list of beach recreational projects.

Officials said then that the estimated costs to fix the Belmont Plaza Pool's seismic issues would be about the same as building a new structure.

That price, according to a study outlining the pool's vulnerability to collapse, had pegged retrofitting at about $23 million.

More information on the temporary options and the proposed project are at www.longbeach.gov/cityclerk under the Feb. 12 council agenda.

Staff Writer Joe Segura contributed to this report.