Answered By: Shauna Redmond
Last Updated: Sep 18, 2015     Views: 469

The city-owned Brookside Plunge was built in 1923 and closed in 1984 because of disrepair. In 1985, the City of Pasadena Board of Directors endorsed a partnership between the public and private sectors seeking to renovate the pool complex. The purpose of this project was to have the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center, a non-profit organization, raise $1.7 million to refurbish the Brookside Park buildings and grounds and build two additional pools, one of which would meet international competition standards. The city hoped to provide world-class training facilities to celebrate its rich history of Olympic athletes, including 6-medal diving champion Dorothy Poynton.
The City of Pasadena paid $997,000 for the complex in addition to a $4 million loan. The Aquatics Center financed the rest. The City of Pasadena Board of Directors pledged $50,000 and promised $170,000 more to the Arroyo Seco Aquatics Center. The city also agreed to apply for a $500,000 state grant on behalf of the project.
The Rose Bowl Aquatics Center opened in 1990. It fulfilled its goal of providing a training center for athletes, but came under criticism by the Pasadena NAACP for its exclusive atmosphere, limited pool access, and the high cost of its family memberships. Officials countered that the pool was initially designed for Olympic-level athletes rather than families, and that they never turned away anyone who wanted to swim (a claim that could not have been made about its predecessor, the Brookside Plunge, which was not desegregated until 1945). However, they sought ways to lower rates and provide need-based scholarships for those at competitive levels.

“News for Release: Local Swim Enthusiasts Join City in Plans to Restore Brookside Plunge,” 9/10/85.
“Pasadena Promises $220,000 for Pool,” L.A. Times, 9/12/85.
“Rose Bowl Aquatics Center Seeks to Adjust Loan Terms,” L.A. Times, 2/7/91, pg. J3.
“Aquatics Center to Benefit Community,” from brochure on project.
“Best Kept Secret in Pasadena,” Pasadena Star News, 7/27/92, pg. A3.
“Aquatics Center Becomes Springboard for Success,” L.A. Times, 7/9/92, pg. J4.