Although Hollywood residents have seemingly found different ways to beat the heat this summer, the community is eagerly awaiting the return of the pool at the Hollywood Recreation Center.
In late 2012, workers with city’s General Services Department began demolishing the pool, one of the city’s oldest aquatic facilities. The demolition has been completed, and in August, contractors may begin constructing a new pool and bathhouse. The city hopes to have the pool complete by next summer.
“We believe … we can make that date,” said Neil Drucker, program manager for recreation and the cultural facilities division of the city’s Bureau of Engineering. “Actually, it’s coming along great.”
He said bids were due for the construction in April, and the board of the city’s Recreation and Parks Department chose Morillo Construction — the “lowest responsible” bidder — in June. Drucker said he expects workers to be on site at the beginning of August.
The construction could result in some minor traffic impacts on Cahuenga Boulevard and Cole Avenue, he said. If any major impacts are anticipated, the city will coordinate with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation to mitigate those impacts. Drucker said the city is trying to have the contractor work outside peak traffic hours.
“There will be times when there will be traffic impacts,” he said, adding that signage should alert motorists of any delays.
Drucker said most of the “heavy duty noise” involved in the project has already occurred with the demolition of the pool. He said workers have already excavated and graded the site, cutting down the construction period by three to five months.
When completed, the new bathhouse and pool will be completely ADA accessible and more energy efficient. The pool will be widened by five yards, and its deep end will be in the middle. The two shallow areas will allow for more room for recreational swimmers and programming. The new pool also includes a diving board, a perk that has been missing at the pool for approximately 30 years.
The popular water slide will return. Drucker said it be new, but similar to the old slide. The location of the pool will move slightly, and workers will install shade structures and sitting areas. Drucker said the new pool will be heated for year-round use.
“It’s ready for it, but we can’t afford [to fund year-round operations],” he said, adding that the Department of Recreation and Parks could operate the pool year-round if someone donated the funds to keep it open.
The old facilities had failed to meet ADA, fire safety and seismic requirements. Drucker said the project will bring the pool and bathhouse up to code.
The $4 million project is being funded through State Quimby Act and Prop. K funds. The city was planning to renovate the recreation center’s gym, but only had enough funds for the pool facilities. Drucker said the design phase of the gym renovations will likely occur in six to nine months. He said the Los Angeles City Council is exploring options to fund the gym renovations.
Drucker said the city has gone out of its way to facilitate community input. David Ambroz, of the Central Hollywood Neighborhood Council, agreed. He commended city officials for “intimately” involving the community in the process.
“Not only has [the city] checked in with what the community asked for, it’s also planned for future needs and uses,” Ambroz said. “It’s not a static design.”
He said he has not heard complaints about the pool being closed, and believes that residents understand they must make short-term sacrifices to bring the pool into the 21st Century.
“I wish they could build it quicker, but it is what it is,” Ambroz added.
The Hollywood Recreation Center is located at 1122 Cole Ave.
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