SBD/October 22, 2013/Facilities

Int'l Swimming HOF To Close Fort Lauderdale HQ After Dispute With City

The Int'l Swimming HOF in Ft. Lauderdale "plans to close its headquarters and museum when its lease with the city expires" in Feb. '15, according to Linda Robertson of the MIAMI HERALD. ISHOF CEO Bruce Wigo said that its BOD was "dissatisfied with Fort Lauderdale’s renovation plan for the aging Aquatic Complex," and that it "decided by an 11-0 vote to move to a city where a modernized attraction can be constructed." Robertson notes the HOF "used to be a popular winter training spot for college teams and the site of major meets," but it "loses about" $1.2M per year. Museum attendance has "dwindled from 100,000 in its heyday to 25,000, and its budget has been cut to $600,000." Ft. Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman said that the city "could not provide the $50,000 annual subsidy Wigo sought in addition to the $1 annual lease for a 10,000-square-foot building." Robertson reports the HOF also "wanted control over events held there." Wigo said that the HOF's "collection of aquatic artifacts will be relocated, but the future address is undetermined." He added that he is "in discussions with a few other cities, including Santa Clara, Calif." (MIAMI HERALD, 10/22). Wigo said that the HOF "wasn't scrambling for an alternative since it had planned to be in storage for two years" while the city builds a new $32.4M aquatic center (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 10/22).
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