Phoenix council and mayor end debate over famous Phoenix pool

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX --  A long-running neighborhood fight to save a unique Phoenix pool is over.

The Mayor and City Council voted Wednesday to approve a zoning change, and allow Brophy College Preparatory to sell the 10-acre pool and facility near 30th Street and Campbell in Phoenix.

More than a year ago, Brophy announced plans to sell the site, which has been owned by the school for more than a decade. School officials say they operate the pool at a financial loss, and can no longer afford to keep it open.

Several home builders expressed interest in buying the site for a new housing development. The move sparked a campaign from neighbors, swimmers, parents, and coaches to save the pool. They hoped a buyer would come forward to purchase the site and keep the pool as-is.

It is the only official Olympic-sized pool in Phoenix. The Phoenix Swim Club has called the pool home for several decades, and it has been a training site for Olympic swimmers. "If you look at the wall inside, signed by all the Olympians. There's just so much history here,'' swimmer and coach Herbie Behm told 3TV.

He and others leaving swim practice Wednesday night were upset with the city's decision. "We don't need more homes on the site. We need spaces dedicated to children and families. There aren't many open spaces like this left in the city," said Brent Rutemiller, who helped lead the fight to save the pool.

Brophy's attorneys appealed to the City Council, calling it a clear property-rights case. Attorney Michael Curley called it "offensive" for others to demand the pool remain open on Brophy's dime. In the end, it was a unanimous 8-0 vote, in Brophy's favor. While a sale timeline has not been made public, the rumored buyer is planning to fill the pool in and build 35 new homes on the site.