Laguna Beach has long been a waterman's (and waterwoman's) paradise. Surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, skimboarding, SCUBA diving ... if you like getting wet, you pretty much have it all here.
So it's kind of ironic that some are saying what Laguna Beach lacks is a decent public pool for swimming—the most basic water activity of all.
People are trying to change this. Last week, an online petition popped up at ipetitions.com calling for the city to "authorize and finance the building of a second public pool, which needs to be 50 meter(s) in length." As of Sunday evening, May 20, the petition had 192 signees. You can view the petition (and sign it, if you like) at this link.
Yes, the city already has a public pool, at 670 Park Ave. across from . But people complain that it's often overcrowded, with recreational swimmers, swim students, water polo and swim teams and exercise classes all sharing space in a 25-yard pool.
Chad Beeler, who coaches the Laguna Beach city swim team for kids ages 7 to 15, was the third to sign the petition.
"It’s a really small pool that's to be shared with the high school, so there's no room for anybody else," Beeler tells Patch. "It's really hard to schedule all the groups. My swim kids, they get crunched into just five lanes. What we really need is a 50-meter pool."
A 50-meter pool would put Laguna Beach close to the level of what Irvine has for its residents: two public swimming pool facilities, including the Woollett Aquatics Center, which has two side-by-side 50-meter pools and a 25-yard teaching pool. Irvine's Northwood Aquatics Center also has a 50-meter pool with a one-meter diving board.
It's cities like Irvine, Mission Viejo and Laguna Niguel that people feel they're being forced to go to because of the mob scene at the Laguna Beach pool.
"Can you believe Laguna Beach residents have to resort to sending their kids inland if they want adequate training in swimming or water polo?" commented Sarah Kelly on the petition site. "We should support more healthy endeavors for our community rather than the endless beautification projects meant for tourists."
"The current situation is not adequate for the needs of the community," opined Maggi Henrikson. "There are daily swimmers, as well as competitive athletes who would utilize another facility in Laguna Beach. I have seen more pools per capita in New England towns, where they are only useable four months of the year. Not to mention that the toddler pool is connected to the main pool at our facility, and whenever they poop, the pool gets shut down for cleaning."
So the sentiments are certainly there—but where would a pool be built? Some proposals that have been received by Patch include , Laguna Canyon, or just tearing out underused tennis courts in one of Laguna Beach's public parks. One petitioner suggested replacing the with a pool. (Doubt that would happen; those lawn bowlers are a tough, territorial bunch.)
Then there's the cost of building a pool ... which is a whole other story.
For now, though, what do you think? Does Laguna Beach need another swimming pool? Vote in our poll below, and comment away in our comment box ...