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Locals Weigh in on Possible New Pool for Manhattan Beach

Nov 14, 2023 10:30AM ● By Mb News Staff
The public was invited Monday evening to contribute to a process that could result in major renovations to Begg Pool, the city's 80-year-old public pool near Polliwog Park.

At the "Begg Pool Community Open House," held at the Manhattan Beach Community Center, residents walked through 6 separate stations where concepts for a new pool facility were presented. Each person attending was given strips of green, yellow and red "dot" stickers to place physically on displays to indicate which potential features they preferred, or did not want to see.

The stations were: 

1) Pool types and configurations
2) Pool building amenities
3) Education / wellness / water safety
4) New facility support amenities
5) Community, team sport and active uses
6) "Build Your Begg"

As to pool types, attendees were shown options for a renovated or rebuilt 25-yard pool much like the current facility offers, or a 35-meter new pool. (The 35-meter option features a standard 25-yard width.) There was even an option for the 35M pool plus a shallow 25-yard pool.

There were several options for new buildings surrounding the pool, including a possible "community room" to host parties or events, along with concepts for landscaping, shade and "tiered" seating around the new pool. 

Who will the pool serve? Community members were asked to prioritize everything from water safety for infants and toddlers through high school swim teams, up to CIF tournaments and masters swim classes. (Perhaps reflecting a bias among the crowd, masters classes attracted a disproportionate number of green-dot stickers.)

At the final station, "Build Your Begg," attendees were invited to use scale-model "buildings" and "pools" to configure a new facility on top of the existing grounds of the Begg Pool facility. Each creation was photographed to be put into consideration, as an indication of community preferences.

Throughout the room, long tables were set up with butcher paper and markers, encouraging visitors to write out their own thoughts and feelings. Comments included some deeply skeptical of the project and costs, others that were nostalgic about the pool where many locals learned to swim and have hosted parties, and still others that offered practical suggestions (suit dryers and hair dryers in the locker rooms, for instance). 

Each station was monitored by cheerful city staff and workers for the design firm HMC Architects, which has been contracted by the city to deliver a preliminary report on proposed designs and costs for a Begg Pool upgrade. (The firm's managing principal, Kristina Singiser, grew up in Manhattan Beach and took swim lessons [and middle school PE classes] at Begg Pool.) The firm has completed more than 80 aquatic facilities over the past ten years. City Council voted in August to award HMC the contract in August this year.

Even if you missed the open house, the city wants your input through an online survey. (Click to visit.) Responses will be collected through November 30. 

A report with options is expected from the design firm next year, when City Council will have a chance to evaluate costs, fundraising options and community wishes. 

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