After multiple delays, long awaited remodel of Verdugo Aquatic Center nearly done

Kate Blevins has been waiting years to take a dip in her neighborhood pool.

One recent sunny afternoon, the 10-year Burbank resident gazed at the Olympic-sized pool and aquatic playground from the balcony of the Verdugo Aquatic Center.

PHOTOS: Remodeled Verdugo Aquatic Center

The facility has been closed for renovations since 2008. But for her, it looks well worth the wait.

And when it opens — which after a series of delays is slated to happen early June — she and the rest of Burbank will have beyond just the summer to use it.

The City Council on Thursday decided to keep the facility — minus the large blue and green water slides — open 11 months of the year for a one-year pilot period.

While running the facility year round would cost $180,154, officials believe they can generate $145,585 in revenue through pool rentals and program fees, leaving the cost to the city at roughly $35,000.

“I can’t believe how big and blue it is,” Blevins said, adding that she’s eager to take her nieces and nephews swimming. “It doesn’t look like a public pool — it looks like private-owned Raging Waters-type thing.”

That’s what makes the facility — renovated to the tune of $7.3 million — unique, said city spokesman Drew Sugars.

“It’s a mini waterslide park,” he said.

The aquatic center also features new locker rooms, bathrooms and first aid and lifeguard offices.

But the renovation hasn’t come without its share of setbacks.

Closed down roughly five years ago, the pool was originally projected to reopen in the fall of 2011. Then it was pushed to the following summer. And again to the following Memorial Day weekend.

Last month, officials reported that the concrete pool deck was nearly halfway done, the water slides were built and piping for the water irrigation system was almost finished. It was on track to open late May.

But the opening has been put off yet again, pending inspections from state and L.A. County health and safety agencies.

City officials haven’t set a new opening date in stone, but the goal is early June.

“We will open as soon as possible,” said Marisa Garcia, assistant director of park, recreation and community services. “I know the community is anxious to get this open.”

Those looking to escape the heat this holiday weekend will instead have to head to McCambridge Pool, which is set to open to the public Saturday.

Until then, the public will just have to watch and wait for Verdugo.

“I can’t wait to go on that diving board,” said Toluca Lake resident William Letang, 26, who visits the gym at the facility twice a week to play basketball. “That pool — it’s gorgeous.”

-- Alene Tchekmedyian,

Follow on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.


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