Sunday, May 14, 2017

The closing of Lake Worth’s municipal pool at our Beach: It’s not a problem. It’s an opportunity.

WARNING: New ideas follow that may be disturbing for some readers. If you begin to feel queasy, start feeling upset or angry, please stop reading this blog post immediately and scroll down to the next post below. You’ve been warned. And, as always, Thank You for visiting and making last year the best ever for this blog which began in May of 2006 with a very bleak look at the “Pace of Building Permits” in our little City.

The City’s “Budget and Comprehensive Plan Work Session” was last Tuesday and started off with a bang: the struggling Casino complex, the Beach Fund, the pool, and. . .
“We cannot continue to keep losing money”, said Asst. City Manager Juan Ruiz, and “the [Beach] fund is still hurting with the pool closed.”
How is this mess going to be turned around? Are there ways for the Casino complex to make money? Are there other options to “Stop the bleeding”?

Continue reading for some new ideas. Some of which may be disturbing. So pause for a moment and remember, “If you begin to feel queasy. . .”.

Many of you know I was a big fan of our municipal pool at the Beach. But after the pool was shut down earlier this year, possibly never to re-open, I’m a big fan of the pool at Lake Lytal now.

It’s a little further away and things are much different, there’s free parking at Lake Lytal, open Tuesday to Saturday, only $2.44/visit if you purchase a pass, planes fly overhead to and from PBIA, and always a cheerful staff scrubbing and brushing the pool inside and out — maintenance of the Lake Lytal pool is a priority — it was built around the same time as our pool in the 1970’s.

And whereas the novelty of Yours Truly at 6′4″ splashing around with a large blue pool noodle and floating barbells at the Lake Worth pool wore off over time, I’m still quite the source of curious onlookers and befuddlement at Lake Lytal doing my water exercise routine.

The one question being drowned out right now (pardon the pun) is whether or not we should have a pool at the Beach. If a new pool and aquatic facility is constructed at our Beach we’ll be handing it off to the Millennials. They need to be a big part of this debate. Would they prefer an open theater or a sports facility with volleyball and a skate park? The possibilities are endless but whatever is built has to work hand-in-hand with our Casino next door.

The reason for having a pool at the Beach is much different, it once served a different purpose. Our City’s pool once served tourists and travelers on U.S. 1 prior to construction of the Florida Turnpike and I-95. A1A used to hug the coastline east of the Casino building until the hurricanes of 1947 and 1949.

Due to infill development the City of Lake Worth is much different now, e.g., Bryant Park, ‘Hot Dog Park’*, the City’s Golf Course, Park of Commerce, and the County’s John Prince Park nearby are just a few.
Aerial view looking south likely pre-WWII. A1A hugs the coast in front of the former Casino structure. Then later, in the 1950’s. . .
Note the location of the pool later, at rear of the former Casino structure.
Notice all the parking close by the former Casino and short walk to the beach. The present structure has parking and traffic problems of which most of you are aware. Those weren’t issues “back in the day”. Now for the big question:

If it’s decided to build a new pool, where should it be?

For some time many of us have known the day would come when the pool was shut down. It was only a matter of time. And a lot of people have thought about where our City’s community pool should be located. Here are two of those ideas: 1) Bryant Park. 2) Downtown west of Dixie Hwy. and east of the FEC railroad tracks.

For some people, and some in the press as well, the history of Lake Worth began in 2012 when the new majority took over City Hall and decisions prior to that are conveniently forgotten or glossed over. Why all the attention now? Because this is big news. Many residents want to keep a pool at our Lake Worth Beach and that’s understandable. We’ve had a pool at the Beach for many, many years.

But that shouldn’t be the reason to construct another pool in the very same place, at our Beach. Remember, we “renovated” (actually constructed a new building) where the former Casino structure once sat and we’re still having problems since that project was ‘completed’ in 2012.

Were the Millennials brought into that conversation about where and how our Casino should function for the community back in 2010–2011? 

I’m not opposed to a pool at the Beach!

We have time to figure this out — and get it right for the entire community now and future community of the City of Lake Worth to come — that includes the Millennials, their kids to follow, and the many future residents who don’t know, or possibly even care, why people “Love” a pool at our Beach so much.

*Many residents of Lake Worth will fondly recall why that area (eastern base of the former Lake Worth bridge) was called “Hot Dog Park”. It had to do with ‘free hot dogs’ on a July 4th back in 2009. Former resident and blogger-extraordinaire Tom McGow explained this quite well in a post titled, “PAC your lunch for the 4th of July. . .”.

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