In a community where child obesity, asthma and diabetes are on the rise, it’s no wonder citizens
shunned the aging swimming pool and demanded a new one.
“It’s essentially lived its useful life and
it’s a big money hole now,” says Mike Camarena,
director of city services in Lindsay, Calif. “So the money we
set aside for maintenance was put into a new pool.”
As part of an economic plan for redeveloping this
agriculture-based city in California’s Central Coast, local
leaders tried to attract diverse industries that weren’t
After little success, a city councilman happened to visit the
giant sports complex of Chelsea Piers in New York, where he saw the
pivotal role recreational opportunities can play in a city by
giving parents an opportunity to sponsor their children. He brought
the idea back to Lindsay and, using an abandoned parking area with
a storage facility, the city began to redefine and rebuild its
recreational program. As a result, the McDermont
Field House was born.
Besides the artificial turf, arcade, laser tag area, gyms, golf
course, fitness center, rock-climbing wall, and separate surf ride,
a $2.5 million pool was added to the mix this summer.
The pool was entirely funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of
Agriculture Rural Development in support of projects developing
wellness and health in the community.
It includes an eight-lane lap swimming area, a recreational
portion for water aerobics, and a 90-degree heated therapy pool.
Plans are under way to build a 700,000-square-foot wellness center
to be completed in the next 12 months, and Camarena says the
therapy pool will complement the new facility.
“That would be another source of revenue to support
maintenance requirements of the new pool,” he says.
Another source of revenue comes from membership fees to the
McDermont Field House. Monthly memberships include access to the
new pool, which also pays for some its expenses. The pool alone is
$2 for general public swimming and more for structured
Corporate sponsorships are available, in which the sponsor
receives advertising on the facility’s TVs and projection
screens. Currently, the pool is planned to be a year-round
facility, but Camarena says his staff is working through the
schedule to see if the popularity lasts through winter.
The pool also hosts evening open swims, movie nights, luau
parties, and other events as methods of revenue and programming. In
addition, the new facility is drawing interest from swim clubs
outside the city. “People see Lindsay turned the tide and
it’s luring people from within the region,” Camarena
The health benefits were the pool’s major selling point, and
it didn’t take much to convince the public that it needed a
new pool. “The community was behind it 100 percent.
We’re keeping our population active. Instead of kids hanging
out and getting in trouble,” he says, they are going to the
pool and to the Field House. Adds Camarena, “That’s
creating a base for us and the pool is an integral part of