Monday, December 10, 2018

Are you one of those getting sick and tired of hearing about that pool?

Well. Join the club.

Below is a rather long blog post. There has been a new development that many of you will be pleased to hear about, one that should end all of this nonsense for good. But if you’re one of those who have just had it with hearing about that pool at Lake Worth Beach then Thank You for visiting today and please scroll down to the next blog post.

The problem is no matter how it’s explained and no matter in how many ways, there is a small but very loud group that thinks a pool at the Beach serves an important public purpose. But for who is the big question?

However, below is more information and this should end the debate once and for all about ‘fixing’ the pool at the Beach or constructing another large one for lap swimming. For those residents in the Town of Palm Beach who loved that pool so much they need to convince their own elected leaders to build one and leave us alone. The pool at Lake Worth Beach has been condemned. And that’s that.

But this effort sometimes seems like “Whack-A-Mole”. You smack down one argument and another one pops up.

So let’s put two more quarters in the slot and whack that mole one last time with a big giant pool noodle. And hopefully that ‘Whack’ will end this debate once and for all.

Below is another reason, a very big reason why the City of Lake Worth will not repair or construct another lap swimming pool at the Lake Worth Beach. The reason is the County is constructing a large new aquatic complex nearby. More about that below.

And that’s just one reason.

After you finish reading this blog post, please scroll back up and learn more about the what’s called the Coastal Construction Control Line and the report from CPZ Architects about the condition of the dune and the biggest question of all: If having a pool at the Beach is so important then why did the previous City administration shut down the pool eight years ago?

And we haven’t even gotten to the political support to construct another lap swimming pool at Lake Worth Beach. There is little to none now.

And after the reading the information below the political will to construct another pool at the Beach will be zero.

It’s time for us as a City to move on.

Below you’ll learn about a new large aquatic facility Palm Beach County will be constructing just a ten minute drive from Lake Worth City Hall. It’s not difficult to envision a shuttle from this City taking residents to this new aquatic facility complete with a rack for pool noodles. This City will not need to construct a lap swimming pool. The County is doing that for us.

This City needs a pool or pools to teach children how to swim, for adult water exercise, and for family recreation. And pools with FREE parking too.

The image below is the proposed site plan for a large aquatic complex within a short drive of the Lake Worth Casino in unincorporated PBC.

Continue reading to learn more.

What is more likely — instead of a lap pool — is the City of Lake Worth constructing one or possibly even two public pools in another area of the City for more public access and FREE parking too.

Some areas considered for a public pool? These are some in no particular order:
  • Bryant Park along the Intracoastal or as part of a municipal golf course reconstruction.
  • Possibly near the City’s ball fields east of Vernon Heights in the northwest part of the City.
  • Or west of the Compass Community Center in the Downtown.
  • Near the Norman J. Wimbley Gym in the southwest part of the City.

The ideas are limitless. We just need people to be part of the process and come up with new and creative ideas.

As stated a thousand times, constructing another lap swimming pool next to the ocean is a terrible idea. The damage from salt spray alone on the pool pump equipment at the now-condemned pool is proof of that.

Pool pumps and pool heaters can be quite expensive for a large pool and difficult to maintain too.

Remember, because of the Great Recession, a former City administration shut down the pool at the Beach. We’re in a “Boom” cycle now. If a new pool is built at the Beach what will happen when the next “Bust” happens? We’ll be stuck with another ‘white elephant’.

Think of all the things that space at the Beach can be used for? An outside movie theater, skate park, additional parking and more ADA spaces, shuffleboard or regulation Pickleball courts, a area with sand for horseshoes and volleyball and exercise classes, a splash park with cabana pool, or maybe even just an open space for public events? The ideas are limitless for public venues next to the Lake Worth Casino and Beach Complex.

About the new aquatic facility to be
constructed by the County.

Palm Beach County and the YMCA are teaming up to build an aquatic complex at the northeast corner of Kirk Rd. and Gun Club Rd. This is immediately west of the existing Lake Lytal pool as shown in the image below with the red star indicating the approximate location of the new aquatic complex and the blue star indicating the current location of the Lake Lytal pool:

Click on all images to enlarge:

Southern Blvd. is to the north (top) in this image. Gun Club Rd. is to the south. There is a Palm Tran bus stop at the entrance to Lake Lytal Park.

The plan is to keep the existing pool open until construction is completed on the new facility. That would be some time after 2020. Construction is expected to begin as soon as Summer 2019. The current Lake Lytal pool happens to be the same size and general configuration of the pool at the Lake Worth Casino and Beach Complex.

Lake Lytal pool opened in 1975 just four years after the pool at the Lake Worth Beach was constructed.

This image is the now-condemned municipal pool at Lake Worth Beach.

At Lake Lytal parking is FREE and abundant. If you just go for one visit it will cost $4.01. Really. Four dollars and one penny. Make sure to have a penny as you will get the rest back in change. Lake Lytal is a wonderful place. But that one penny is a reminder this place is still a part of a massive bureaucracy.

Whilst on the topic of a penny, this project is courtesy of the County’s sales tax increase which the voters in PBC passed by referendum in 2016:

Line on funding list, 2016 sales surtax proceeds.

2019/2020 combined $6M line item, click line on list:

Now going forward. Think of all the things this City could do with a few million dollars.

As it is now a pass of 20 visits to the Lake Lytal pool is around $50 so that brings the cost/visit to around $2.50. So with a pass you can forget about looking for a penny under the car seat.

The YMCA of Palm Beach County will also get a long-term lease for their new 45,000 s.f. recreation facility that will include a skateboard park as shown on the site plan (see below) and will be of a size and quality capable to be used for Olympic training.

The County and the YMCA are working out an agreement where the YMCA will run the swim programs and maintain the new aquatic complex. That will save County tax money for other public projects. Like maybe even adding another Palm Tran bus stop for Route 62. This bus route used to go to Lake Worth Beach. But that service was discontinued about nine years ago.

The site plan for the future Lake Lytal aquatic complex shows a 70M lap pool with a diving well at the south end.

A closer look:

There is also a plan for another water feature that will cater to fans of casual water exercise, water therapy and family use.

Meetings are taking place periodically so I will keep you informed of the planning progress.

And lastly, priority #1 is teaching children and young adults how to swim. This is a public safety priority and cannot be ignored.

Not having a public pool in our City is no longer an option. That discussion needs to start now. And forget about a pool at the Beach for the privileged who can afford it. That’s a whole different topic now.

Or would you rather we just keep playing “Whack-A-Mole”?