A volunteer support group called Peninsula Aquatics Complex Committee has also been formed to spearhead the revitalized effort for pool formation.
Initially interested in exploring redeveloping the Liberty Station community pool site, the Peninsula Family YMCA has since dropped out.
“The YMCA is no longer involved in the potential development of an aquatics center at Liberty Station,” said Vince Glorioso, the Peninsula Y's executive director. “This is being led by the city and my understanding is that the school district is part of the discussion as well.”
“San Diego Unified School District is currently in preliminary discussions with the city of San Diego regarding a proposed NTC project,” confirmed the district's communications supervisor, Cynthia Reed-Porter. “No decisions have been made at this time.”
“The $1.17 million allocation to begin design for the recreation center will also lay the framework for a future NTC Aquatic Center,” said Zapf. “ I look forward to continuing to advocate for this project to serve Point Loma residents.”
Zapf aide Conrad Wear noted, “The mayor’s proposed 2018 budget includes $1.1 million in funding to begin preliminary engineering and design on transforming Building 619 at NTC into a city of San Diego Recreation Center/future Aquatic Center. This funding will be focused primarily on designing the recreation center with recreation-type amenities, but also with the idea in mind of incorporating the existing building into a future aquatic center.”
Wear pointed out the Recreation Center is “Phase 1” of the proposed long-term project, with the future aquatic addition as “Phase 2.”
“Phase 2 will most likely be a different funding source,” said Wear adding, “In other words, don’t grab your swim suit and towel just yet.”
John Seymour is chair of the Peninsula Aquatics Complex Committee. The group recently formed to support the pool project and is comprised of six core members.
Seymour praised the proposed site, Building 619, noting it fits perfectly with proposed redevelopment.
“That building could be a center point of the aquatic complex and its facilities,” Seymour said. “We have our foot in the ground now. It looks possible.”
Seymour noted the genesis of the pool project dates back to September 2001.
“It's (pool's) part of the Naval Training Center Precise Plan and local coastal program,” he said. “It's part of the park open space program, which talks about an active and passive recreational, 40-acre waterfront park at that site.”
Besides an aquatic center, Seymour said planning on the former NTC site includes a multi-use sports field.
“The land is there, the parking (for it) is amazing and it will be able to service an aquatics complex,” he said. “We're not talking about a single pool, but two or three pools, a concessions area, showers and lockers, and space for stand-up paddling, kayaking and rowing.”
Seymour noted the new aquatic facilities are direly needed.
“Point Loma High School has no home pool,” Seymour said. “The PLHS boys and girls swim teams have grown to a point where they've actually had to cut kids because there's no space for them to practice.”
PLHS student swimmers have to drive, or be driven, far outside the community to find pools that can accommodate them for practice.
“We have this big need, and the YMCAs in this area can't handle the demand,” Seymour noted.
Seymour added the all-volunteer committee spearheading the pool drive hopes to expand to between 10 and 15 individuals.
“We're going to work hand in glove with Peters' and Zapf's offices and the SDUSD to make sure that we do diligence in terms of funding and development of a complex at this site as part of the NTC precise plan,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Scott Peters (D-52) weighed-in on the Liberty Station pool project.
“This is something the Point Loma community has been working together toward for a while now and I don’t want to see these efforts delayed any longer than necessary,” Peters said. “My office is working closely with the folks involved in the project to help navigate the Department of the Interior and the National Parks Service to ensure that any request they file goes as smoothly as possible.”