If the city of Santa Clara has its way, the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale may move to California.
That's right, Santa Clara, the city that just built a new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers and is neck-n-neck with South Florida in a bid for Super Bowl L.
Santa Clara says it plans to raise $2 million for an endowment to support the swimming hall as well as $10 million to move it to the West Coast.
The hall has also received inquiries from England and China.
Currently, Ft. Lauderdale is providing a rent-free home to the swimming hall and investing $32 million to upgrade the complex, which includes two Olympic-size swimming pools.
But swimming hall President Bruce Wigo told the Miami Herald he's not happy with the city's upgrade plan, which he says houses the hall in a poorly designed building and won't provide any new way to attract more visitors. The design of the new complex is impractical and out of step with other major aquatic centers of its kind, Wigo said. He advocated adding a water park component to draw traffic other than just swimmers, whose numbers have dwindled as more pools have been built in Broward County. The hall currently loses approximately $1.2 million a year.
“When this (swimming hall of fame) was built in 1965, it was the only 50-meter facility around, but now there are 18 in Broward,” Wigo said. “The pool is hardly used and closes at 2 p.m. on weekends. The population has shifted west. You have to give people a reason to drive here. Yet they (city officials) are going to stick with a 50-year-old concept.”