Plunge pool reopens at Belmont Park

SAN DIEGO - The historic Plunge pool at Belmont Park officially re-opened to the public Thursday after being closed for five years.

The reconstructed, state-of-the-art pool, which originally opened in 1925 and was closed in 2014 due to safety issues and a lack of proper maintenance, features floor-to-roof glass windows and a retractable-roof system promoting natural air circulation. The new ventilation system prevents some of the deterioration issues that previously plagued the old building due to moisture and saltwater.

The iconic Plunge at 3115 Ocean Front off the boardwalk in Mission Beach, was formally dedicated Wednesday in a ceremony emceed by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. More than a dozen local kids splashed into the new pool to commemorate its re-opening.

"This is an iconic gathering place and has always been the centerpiece of Belmont Park since 1925," Faulconer said. "Today, we mark the beginning of its new future."

Faulconer praised the public-private partnership that went into re- creating the cherished landmark, giving kudos to Pacifica Enterprises, Belmont Park's operator, for turning the amusement park into a "world-class destination."

Chris Wahl of Pacifica Enterprises praised the revitalized pool's contemporary design, adding it has not always been so modern.

"It used to be all stucco and you used to have to dodge falling pieces, there used to be a net to catch it," Wahl said.

Founder/president Scott Lutwak of the renovated Plunge's new operator, Fit Athletic Club, pointed out the restoration project has been seven years in the making.

Originally known as The Natatorium, the 60-foot by 175-foot Plunge swimming pool was once the largest salt-water pool in the world holding 400,000 gallons of water.

In 1940, the salt water of the Plunge began to damage its filtration system and fresh water was brought in making it the largest indoor heated pool in Southern California at 12,000 square feet.

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