LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. — The city of Lake Worth Beach is taking steps to resurrect the Lake Worth Municipal Swimming Pool.
City commissioners Tuesday voted 4-1 in favor of estimating what the project will cost.
"It's probably the best real estate probably in Palm Beach County, so we are fully intent on bringing it back and making it really special," Commissioner Reinaldo Diaz said.
Diaz said the pool wasn't doing well financially and wasn't well managed, causing it to close in 2016.
"It was a big thing for our community. For years that pool existed and was a community hub," Diaz said. "But now being closed and being a hole in the ground is not doing anyone any favors."
Lake Worth Beach
City of Lake Worth Beach seeking to improve golf course
City staff has gotten feedback from residents on what they would like for the pool to provide.
Ocean Boulevard "used to be dirt roads, and the pool was here," Melody Jewell, who used to go to the pool as a teenager, said. "There were a lot more people, a lot more children, a lot more activity. There was a lot more going on when the pool was open."
Jewell said she would like to see diving boards, slip-proof flooring and a full staff of lifeguards.
"The pier is still here, Benny’s on the Beach got to stay, Lake Worth Beach has absolutely grown and the pool needs to come back," Jewell said.
The pool now sits drained but full of potential as city staff looks into what it will cost to reopen, maintain and operate it.
"The budget, you know, to construct is certainly one thing," Diaz said. "We expect that to be really significant. You know, we've heard numbers of $15-16 million, but then there's the significant added cost of, well, we want this pool to be open for decades."
The proposed pool design is smaller than the current pool but provides more room for decking and programs.
Among them are water aerobics, water sports and activities such as water basketball, water volleyball, swimming and diving lessons, lap lanes, splash pad activities, food and drink, and event space.
People continue to stay cool during repeat days of extreme heat
A place for families to cool off from the record-breaking heat is also top of mind.
"Not everyone can afford a pool in their backyard, so that's, you know, quite literally the main purpose of a community pool," Diaz said.
That all sounds perfect to Melissa Alvarez, who was visiting from Connecticut with her family.
"A lot of the kids like the pool and they love to go in the ocean, but after an hour or two they're ready to jump in the pool," Alvarez said.
She said a beachside amenity like a pool would bring in more tourism.
"Looking at the building, it's a great building and I think it would be wonderful to open it," Alvarez said.
Commissioners are looking into reworking certain details such as the placement of the splash pad and food service portions of the project.
There's no timeline one when the pool could reopen.