The Silicon Valley Voice

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Milestones: Swimming North

At one time, Santa Clara was known as having one of the greatest swim teams in the country.

Our swim center at Central Park was the envy of the world and our gold medal winners in National competition were amazing. They continued to rack up records at an incredible pace.

This was the period of Coach George Haines, who coached seven Olympic teams to world recognition. He coached such memorable swimmers at our center as Don Schollander, Mark Spitz and Claudia Kolb. The Santa Clara Swim Center and Haines were the envy of every coach, swimmer and competitor in the world. George has now passed away and the Swim Center is ready for retirement.

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The Haines legacy was fifty years ago. Our swim center is now old, and our City has grown up around Central Park, leaving behind the glory of the center once known as the best.

There has been a lot of planning in an attempt to restore and modernize the swim center at its current location.

This would be a waste of tax dollars.

The Center is outdated and is over seventy years of age. The location is residential, parking is minimal and services are limited.

Our City needs to be thinking ahead with a visionary outlook for future generations. If we wish to hold swim meets and world class competitive events, we need to relocate the swim center to an area that works.

Competition swimming is huge, and events are huge. People come from everywhere to attend and participate. They stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and rent our cars. So, where would you want these guests to compete?

The most natural location would be in an area on the Northside of Santa Clara and my suggestion is on the Kylli property (formerly Yahoo property). Here is nearly fifty acres that is under review for development. This is the company that would like to build a 30-story office building and residential complex.

One of the requirements to advance this project is open space, which would be close to nine acres. This is enough room to create a world class swim center (providing the City Council would approve it) and still leave plenty of park and open space. More important, it would provide a welcome location for guests that includes hotels, restaurants and services unavailable at Central Park.

Perhaps even more important is access. Teams would be flying in from everywhere and this location would be minutes from the San Jose airport. Getting to North Santa Clara would be so much more practical for traveling competitors than trying to get to Central Park.

When you consider the options, location, access, parking, hotels and services, you would have to think the Northside as a better venue. It is also more in line with enhancing our entertainment district and redirecting traffic away from our residential areas.

Swimming North just might be a good idea.

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