Long Beach’s Gazettes.com Opines on Belmont Plaza Rebuild

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Long Beach California’s Gazettes.com chimed in on rebuilding Belmont Plaza, the iconic indoor water polo venue that was condemned by the city on February 4. That decision, and the burgeoning effort to replace the facility in full, has has generated some social media buzz within the US swimming and water polo communities.

In a February 7 editorial the paper gives conditional support for the project concluding that, “the competitive community is going to have to prove that type of pool’s worth.”

With support from local superstar Jessica Hardy, Olympic hero Greg Louganis, and Michael Phelps’ affection for the venue, it would seem an easy case to make. But with estimates approaching $60 million for the re-do it’s not so clear.

How does the Gazette suggest pitching it?

“Show them the money.”

Which it then does distantly, citing anecdotal evidence of increased commerce in shopping-heavy Belmont Shore during big aquatic events at the Plaza, and giant media exposure (but no economic benefit mentioned) during the 2004 US Olympic Team swimming trials held downtown.

Thus the clouded support, it seems. Without an adequate business case it would be unwise to lend full support to the project.

“It is up to the proponents of a high-end competitive venue to show how such a venue will pay dividends,” say the editors. Until then, a muted response from The Gazette.