Navy is unlikely to approve Seal Beach pool

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Proposal to lease a community pool site from NWS has ‘slim’ chance of success

The odds are against the U.S. Navy approving a plan to lease Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station land for a city swimming pool, according to a memo by Jill Ingram, assistant to the city manager.

“In conclusion, after in-depth questions by the mayor and city manager, it appears that the probability of obtaining approval for the lease of land for use as a community swimming pool site on the Naval Weapons Station property would be slim to none,” wrote Ingram.

The contents of the memo were made public during the Wednesday, Jan. 26 Parks and Recreation Commission meeting.

The Ingram memo, written to City Manager Patrick Importuna, described a meeting between Capt. Terry Auberry, base commander, and city officials on Wednesday, Jan. 12.

At that time, Capt. Auberry raised several concerns about the community pool proposal. Ingram listed them in her memo, including:

• “A community pool on base property would encroach on the fence line of the property and increase foot traffic and activity on the base.

• “Due to the primary mission of the base to provide national anti-terrorism force protection, there would be imminent pool closures due to increased national threats.

Such closures would hinder the ability of city staff to provide consistent service and programming to the community.”

The final decision on the proposal doesn’t belong to Capt. Auberry. According to the Ingram memo, the request to lease land on the base would also have to pass through Naval command in San Diego and Washington, D.C.

Mayor Michael Levitt, who attended the meeting, said NWS officials did not think the community pool would be “a good mix” for the base.

Levitt declined to comment further because he had not yet given the City Council a report on the NWS/community pool proposal.

McGaugh Pool: five to seven years left

Seal Beach’s current community pool is located at the McGaugh School. The McGaugh pool was repaired from May to June of last year. The repairs apparently extended the lifespan of the pool. However, swimming pools do not last forever.

Tim Kelsey, Seal Beach Community Services Supervisor, said the contractors who repaired McGaugh pool last year gave the pool five to seven years before there is another major issue with the equipment. The contractors gave that estimate of the pool’s likely lifespan in June 2010.

“We do know that the piping is 50 years old,” Kelsey said.

McGaugh Pool alternatives

The NWS site is one of three locations that have been suggested for a future community pool site.

College Park East resident Patty Campbell first raised the idea of leasing space for a community pool from the NWS during the public comment segment of a 2010 City Council meeting.

On Monday, Oct. 11, 2010, the Redevelopment Agency approved a staff request to seek a grant to buy land for a community pool. That money could be used to by a property on Marina Drive that is currently owned by Exxon/Mobile Corporation and Chevron. Then City Manager David Carmany told the RDA that Exxon officials were willing to cooperate with the city.

During the Monday, Oct. 25 City Council meeting, District 4 Councilman Gary Miller suggested the city turn the Seal Beach Tennis Center into a recreation center. Miller said a swimming pool at that location would serve 60 percent of Seal Beach’s population. Miller said his figure included the residents of Leisure World, who live within driving distance of the Tennis Center.

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