OCEANSIDE — Oceanside City Council gave staff the go ahead to begin development plans for a $25 million swimming complex at El Corazon.
The need for a competitive swimming facility brought a packed house to the Oct. 1 City Council meeting.
El Camino High School water polo and swim coaches stressed the need for a swimming complex to meet the needs of multiple teams, competitive meets, and community swim lessons and recreation.
The city currently has two dated municipal pools that fall short of fulfilling those needs.
Marshall Street pool is only open during summer months.
Brooks Street pool is used year round by high school and city water polo and swim teams, and for community swim lessons and recreational swim.
The L-shaped pool is shorter than competitive length, and only allows one group to utilize the facility at a time.
The small pool size also limits the number of participants that can join high school water polo and swim teams.
“We have 100 kids trying out, but don’t have the pool space to keep them,” Scott Wagner, El Camino High School swim coach, said.
Another issue is the pool was built over 50 years ago and is in need of system upgrades.
City Council discussed rebuilding the 25-meter pool into a competitive 52-meter length. Analysis found the $3.13 million rebuild would still fall sort of providing space and facilities to support competitive meets.
“A 52-meter pool at Brooks Street pushes the envelope,” Peter Weiss, city consultant and former city manager, said. “It still restrictions pool access to one group at a time.”
City Council decided the best deal would be to build a city swimming complex at the El Corazon site. The complex would bring in an estimated net subsidy of $1.25 million annually, after $1.65 million in yearly capital and operating costs.
Funding for the multi-million dollar project still needs to be secured. Partnerships, transit occupancy tax, bond consolidation and other sources will be explored.
City Council declined an agreement for a developer to build a swimming complex, hotel and water park at El Corazon in September. The Swimming Hall of Fame project was nixed due to the commercial nature of project that included a training facility and water park to accommodate visitors.
Council members expressed uncertainty about how to fund a city swimming complex, but vowed to stand by it.