Swimming Pool in Los Angeles/Swimming for Health - A City of Los Angeles Pool Replacement and Management Program

During a recent announcement on funding for rebuilding closed pools at Northridge, Lanark, and Harvard parks, the Mayor also announced the establishment of a Task Force to examine the state of the City's pools and to develop a pool program that integrates plans for maintenance, major repairs, replacements, and citing and building of new additional pools, with strategic funding concepts.

The first step in this important initiative is a thorough inventory of existing pools, their current use and programming, and known physical repair or replacement needs, building on the initial information in the 2003 Infrastructure Report. The attached Quick Looks (by Council District) and Condition Reports (by pool) begin that inventory and analysis process. Recreation and Parks, as managers of the City's system of pools, has undertaken this task, and is consulting with the Bureau of Engineering (BOE) for additional review of our renovation and repair suggestions, and information on pool replacement issues. From this study, current figures on the possible price tag of a comprehensive pool program can be verified.

Another major subject area for the Task Force will be enhancement of operating budgets for maintenance and for a pool component replacement program. For example, the budgeted funds for chlorine have increased between the 1993-1994 and 2003-2004 fiscal years only by a little over $200,000, or about 43%--while the cost of chlorine itself on City contract has risen from $0.56 to $1.10, a 100% increase. This situation is further problematic because the large number of leaking pools require more chlorine replacement than pools which are not leaking. Circulating, chemical, and backwash pump replacements are another readily foreseeable maintenance need, and in fact the Department has a replacement plan, based on a typical five-year (recommended) life-cycle, of 12 circulating pumps (at $12,000 each), 24 chemical feed pumps (at $2,500 each), and up to 26 backwash pumps (average $1,000 each) replaced new annually, for a total recommended budget of $230,000 a year (2004 prices). Except for a few exception years in which the Department received small influxes of pool repair funds, the Department has not received regular pump replacement program funds in well over a decade.

Composition of the Task Force will need to be discussed further, but should include BOE along with Mayor and Council representation, the CLA and CAO, and community representation; this can be drawn from Park Advisory Boards, Neighborhood Councils, and aquatic or athletic organizations, such as the Amateur Athletic Foundation, which supports Recreation and Parks with annual swimming program grants.

The Task Force, once convened, will need to define in detail the objectives of their effort, but which must encompass an analysis of funding possibilities and steps to acquire sufficient funds for the task ahead. A methodology for informing communities about options in aquatic facilities, and in processing meaningful public participation in types and locations of pools, will need to be developed.

The current overlay of pool locations throughout the City is shown on the following page. The options for new, renovated, or replacement pools, include:

  • Regional Aquatic Centers ($6 million or more each): Includes a variety of features such as a traditional deep pool, shallow pool, slides, fountains, water play features, zero depth (beach-like) entrance, wading pool, and splash pad.
  • Community Aquatic Centers ($4 million or more each): Includes a feature such as a deep or a shallow pool, slides or splash pad.
  • Small Neighborhood Pools, Splash Pads, and Portable Pools ($500,000 to $3 million or more): Includes smaller water features that are specifically designed to meet the needs of a neighborhood. Portable pools may be used in areas where a pool is closed or under construction or the community does not have a pool. These can be dismantled and moved from site to site, depending on where temporary pools are most needed; as currently designed, these temporary pools would be used primarily for swim lessons.

Recreation and Parks is ready to take the lead in continuing the work performed so far and participating in the Task Force.

Map of the City showing distribution of existing pool locations.