By Brent Rutemiller
PHOENIX, Arizona, March 20. THE Phoenix Swim Club Board of Directors (BOD) will not support efforts to save its own facility even though neighbors, members and community activists continue to fight to save the property from development.
The Phoenix Swim Club (PSC) BOD's position was recently announced in a stunning email to its members saying that it would remain neutral in the fight to stop the removal of the special permit that allows PSC to remain on the property.
The PSC Board, on behalf of our membership, continues to remain neutral regarding the zoning process. We have worked hard to build strong relationships with our neighbors and with Brophy and we respect both their positions on this issue. … PSC Board of Directors
The decision to not save the facility is baffling, considering that the same letter informed the membership that Brophy has no intention of letting the PSC membership migrate to a proposed new facility on the Brophy College Preparatory (Brophy) campus.
PSC was recently informed that the club will not likely be invited to train at Brophy's new facility. … PSC Board of Directors
The entire membership was led to believe that Brophy was planning to accommodate the 500 member team on its main campus in a new world-class facility.
Many PSC members even donated dollars to fundraisers dedicated to the construction of the new facility to be located only 4.2 miles from the club's current location. The letter gave no indication that a new Brophy aquatic facility would even be constructed in the near future.
Brophy purchased the PSC facility property located at 2902 East Campbell Avenue out of bankruptcy for a bargain price. The purchase came with a special permit and a long-term implied commitment to support the world-renowned USA Swimming club. Bankruptcy Judge Lowell Rothschild ruled on the case back in 2002.
With the purchase, Brophy also acquired the Phoenix Swim Club name and technically still owns those rights.
Swimming World has learned that the current PSC BOD failed to renew its rental agreement with Brophy. The club's lease expired as of December 31st of last year with no mention to the membership. The club is currently operating on the property without a lease.
The PSC BOD is hoping to remain on the property through March of 2014 in what can only be interpreted as a promise to not stand in the way of the sale and development of the property.
We have requested, and Brophy has committed to us, that Brophy will have discussions with Ryland to have the pool closing date extended from December 31, 2013 to March of 2014, allowing us to complete short course season before we move to other water. … PSC Board
Realizing that Brophy has total control over the club's lease, name and water time, it is no wonder the PSC BOD has become ineffective and rendered neutral in the fight to save the only world class competition facility in the city of Phoenix. (It is important to note that the BOD is not unanimous in its current position.)
The real question is whether the membership will accept the current BOD's majority position or elect to chart a new course.
An organization consisting of neighbors and PSC members has been formed to save the facility and seek viable options.
Charter members of Preserving Community Aquatics (PCA) recently reached out to the PSC board requesting the BOD to support its efforts.
However, the PSC BOD declined to support the new organization and has effectively turned its back on a neighborhood that has shown overwhelming support for the facility in the past.
As a result, the PSC BOD's decision has weakened the efforts to save the facility. Ironically, by remaining neutral, the PSC Board has bolstered the efforts of Brophy to sell the property to developers.
It is expected that a large turnout will attend the Preserving Community Aquatics community meeting set for Tuesday March 26, 6:00pm at Mountain View Christian Church, located at 2927 E. Campbell. The church is directly across the street from the pool.
City officials continue to monitor the situation and an important meeting with the Camelback East Village Planning Committee is scheduled for Tuesday April 2, 6:00pm at 2802 E. Devonshire Avenue.
Brent Rutemiller is the CEO and Publisher of Swimming World Magazine, and lives in the neighborhood near the Brophy Sports Complex, home of the Phoenix Swim Club.