Wilton Manors doesn’t have a pool that can be accessed by the public.
But that may change if Hammerhead Aquatics, which offers swim lessons, builds a public access pool at the former Goodwill store at 550 E. Oakland Park Blvd. in Wilton Manors, behind the Primanti Bros. The old Goodwill has been empty since April of 2011.
“This will just expand our aquatics capability. There are no pools in this part of town that are open seven days a week. We hope to stay [at Sunrise Middle School] but this is something for our future. We’re getting too big. We need more space,” said John Grzeszczak, head coach of Hammerhead Aquatics and resident of Wilton Manors. Nothing has happened yet but Grzeszczak said it could take up to about a year to make the improvements to the building.
“With permits and everything, hopefully sooner.” Hammerhead Aquatics currently contracts with Fort Lauderdale to offer public swimming and lessons at the Sunrise Middle School pool.
The plans for the pool were presented at the Central Area Neighborhood Association [CANA] meeting on May 10.
Paul Kissinger, principal for the architectural design firm EDSA, called the pool “a community resource” and said that the building would be revamped and redesigned. “We’re retrofitting the building.” He added that the arched design of the building make it a good fit for a pool because there are no beams. The pool will be 50 meters long and have eight lanes. Besides lap swimming, plans for use of the pool include swim competitions, exercise classes, physical therapy programs, and adult and infant swim classes.
“It’s a tight fit but it’s big enough for multiple activities at once,” Kissinger said.
Plans also include an outdoor shower, classroom space, catering kitchen, outdoor patio, a therapy pool, and 34 parking spots. A second floor would house office space or community room. Wind turbines could possibly be installed on the roof.
“I think it’s really clever idea. I just hope there are enough swimmers to support that,” said resident Ray Carrier. “It’s a good opportunity for the community if they run the programs they’re talking about running,” said CANA President Paul Rolli.
The pool may or may not have to be approved by city commissioners and could be given approval by city staff. Assistant City Manager Pamela Landi said that it’s too early to know the answer because no plans have been submitted yet so it’s unknown if a zoning change or any other type of change will be needed.