City, Navy to start formal swimming pool negotiations

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City and Navy officials will soon begin formal negotiations to build a new community swimming pool that will be located near the Submarine Memorial on Seal Beach Boulevard.

The Seal Beach City Council this week authorized the city manager to open talks with the Navy to lease property on the grounds of the Naval Weapons Station. As part of that decision, the council approved a payment of $70,000 to cover the Navy’s administrative costs.

The money will come from the swimming pool fund. At the Nov. 13, 2017 City Council meeting, council voted 4 to 1 to approve borrowing $358,900 from the City’s Designated Pool Fund to fund the hiring of two more officers to bring the total number on the force to 35. The money would only cover the first-year salaries for the officers. As of last week, the

City Finance Director/Treasurer Victoria Beatley told the Sun that approximately $4.7 million remains in the fund.

Seal Beach has been looking for a potential site for a new swimming for years.

In 2010, the council unanimously approved sending a letter to the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station’s commander to propose leasing Navy property for a community pool. As Recreation Manager Tim Kelsey reminded the community at this Monday’s council meeting, the community swimming pool on the grounds of McGaugh Elementary School has reached the end of its useful life.

According to Kelsey, the opening of negotiations do not guarantee that the city would get a lease. Mayor Mike Varipapa said the door had not closed on the alternative site, which would also be at McGaugh. Kelsey confirmed that was true.

Kelsey said the Navy wants access for base personnel for the proposed pool.

“I’m glad to see that we are moving ahead,” said District Five Councilwoman Sandra Massa-Lavitt.

According to a city staff report, the approval to spend the money doesn’t committ either the city or the Navy to the project. The spokesman for the Seal Beach base confirmed the information in the city staff report.

“The Navy received Pentagon approval for the project earlier this year, and this allows us to begin formal negotiations and potential lease development with the city.  Early steps would include funding for Navy staff time, as the Navy would be conducting various environmental surveys and land appraisals,” said Gregg Smith, public affairs officer for the Naval Weapons Station. “We are excited about the potential for this project, which could be of great benefit for both the community and our military personnel and family members.”

According to a staff report prepared by Kelsey, the agreement approved this week will allow city and federal officials to explore the feasibility of the project.

According to Kelsey’s report, the proposed swimming pool would be located between the Submarine Memorial and the credit union across the street from Seal Beach Police Department Headquarters. “The center would have a separate entrance off of Seal Beach Boulevard and not require patrons to enter through the main gate. The area identified is between 8 and 9 acres and provides ample space for a pool and all of the necessary support features including parking.”

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