After about a decade of false starts to rebuild Fort Lauderdale’s Aquatic Facility, an approved plan seems to be moving ahead, but probably without the entity that made it famous –
…… the International Swimming Hall of Fame,
ISHOF’s CEO, Bruce Wigo, confirmed today that talks are underway to move the museum out of Fort Lauderdale. Discussions are ongoing with numerous venues, including Oceanside California, which recently had an item on their City Commission agenda about “real estate negotiations” with ISHOF.
Fort Lauderdale won the right to establish the nation’s first swimming hall of fame in 1962, and built a peninsula out into the Intracoastal waterway in order to build the complex.
ISHOF has had many of the worlds’ famous swimmers associated with it since.
Probably the most famous was Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller (aka Tarzan), who is immortalized with a statue in the museum. He’s pictured above doing his famous yell (can’t you just hear the ah-ih-ah-ih-ah! – Wikipedia describes the yell as the “victory cry of the bull ape” !).
Other famous swim names like Esther Williams, Mark Spitz, Michael Phelps, and Greg Louganis (who trained in Fort Lauderdale and famously admitted to having AIDS after hitting his head and bleeding into a pool during a diving competition) competed in the Fort Lauderdale pools.
Louganis in Fort Lauderdale
Wigo says the museum has no choice but to look to set up their international headquarters somewhere else, after Fort Lauderdale’s offer to the museum was “a joke”, and an “after thought“.
Wigo says the new Fort Lauderdale plan has the museum in the middle of the complex, with no view, “in a box”. Wigo says they are exploring their options to see what their “equity value” is to other cities. Wigo says even Shanghai, China has expressed an interest in ISHOF!
Wigo also is worried that the new Fort Lauderdale plan will only lead to more red ink at the complex, which often loses nearly one million dollars a year, and that Fort Lauderdale needs to “rethink the aquatic business”.
I’ll keep you informed ….. Tim