In a City Council meeting held last month, plans for the Smith Park Aquatic Center were shown to the City Council as the City continues to move forward to bring back the Aquatic Center for the residents.
The Smith Park Aquatic Center has been closed since the onset of the pandemic. When the County of Los Angeles started to lift shutdown restrictions on community pools, City staff noted that the pool could not open safely under the County’s newest guidelines due to several operational issues.
Since the pool’s official closure in 2021, City staff has been working hard to seek funding from various potential sources to pay for the overall refurbishment of the pool and the facility. Since then, funding has been coming in from State Senator Bob Archuleta, State Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, and State Assemblymember Lisa Calderon, who together brought in $8.5 million for this project and an additional $8.5 million for the renovation of Rio Hondo Park, which will start soon, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn who recently allocated $10 million for the Aquatic Center project.
“We are extremely grateful to have these relationships with our elected leaders,” said City Manager Steve Carmona. “They have been at the forefront of getting our community aquatic center back and running again with all the funding they have allocated to the City. We’re excited to be working with them, and we’re excited to get this project going.” The plans to refurbish the aquatic center include eliminating the Olympic-sized pool and using the existing pool space to build two pools, a 25-meter competition pool, and a 25-meter recreation pool with a zero-depth entrance for children and seniors to use. The pool will also have typical features such as a diving board, deck furnishings, and a family gathering area.
Among the newest features introduced for the aquatic center is a shaded terrace within the pool’s fencing. Taking advantage of the existing hill outside of the pool’s perimeter fencing, the plan calls for this area to be turned into a terrace with a shade structure, allowing spectators to watch a pool competition or for casual gatherings.
Other plans for the aquatic center include a new restroom and shower facility, new equipment such as boilers, a new chemical room, a pool building, lighting, and security fencing. “I’m excited to see this project through,” said Parks and Recreation Director Pam Yugar. “When I came here, the facility was already closed, and I experienced the community’s reaction to that closure. With the help of our elected officials, I am thrilled to see that this community fixture will be better than ever and something that this community will be proud of.” The plans not only call for the refurbishment of the aquatic center, but the renovation of the Smith Park Community Center, to better complement the new aquatic center.
The renovation plans for the Community Center call for a new events room complete with an outdoor terrace, a redesigned lobby area, new offices, and multipurpose rooms. Both the Aquatic Center and Community Center will also have new dedicated entrances that are clearly marked and attractive.
Demolition is expected to begin this summer, with construction beginning next year. City officials anticipate the Smith Park Aquatic Center to be open in 2025.