Social media was all a chatter, Havelock Street was packed bumper to bumper, and people streamed in from all angles. That's right, the anticipation was finally over and Balboa Pool was to be open again on Saturday, February 23rd.
The swimming pool in Mission Terrace's Balboa Park was founded in 1959, had been in need of renovations and ADA accessibility upgrades. Funding was secured and the pool was closed back in October of 2016 to begin work for what was supposed to be a one-year project. Almost 2 years and 4 months later (delays largely due to disputes with PG&E) the pool was opening again... with much fanfare.
SF Rec & Park was on hand with free giveaways and people wanted through the new building. High above the swimming pool and enjoyed by spectators lining the pool, was an enormous mural titled All My Friends At Once, by artist Jason Jägel, funded but he city's two-percent-for-art funding, which included nods to the neighborhoods close to the pool.
Speeches were given by San Francisco's Mayor London Breed, District 11 Supervisor Ahashi Safai, NMTIA's Board Present David Hooper, and many more.
After the speeches were completed, Mayor Breed lead a countdown to the first plunge into the pool, to rousing cheers all around, followed by an impressive show by the San Francisco Merionettes, an award-winning synchronized swimming club formed in 1956. This was followed by a free open swim for anyone who wanted to brave the crowds.
If swimming wasn't your thing, then no worries as there were plenty of outdoor activities as well; giant bubble-blowing, bean bag tosses, and a bunch house.
All-in-all, it was a fantastic day for the neighborhood.
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