River Cities

Safety issues settled, Miami Springs $5 million pool at last opens

A man swims laps at the new $5 million Miami Springs Aquatic Center.
A man swims laps at the new $5 million Miami Springs Aquatic Center. For the Miami Herald

Miami Springs’ new $5 million pool, which didn’t open as promised on July 2 after Miami-Dade inspectors found a host of safety violations, is at last available for swimming.

“This is a very friendly layout with a place for kids and adults to do their thing,” said Maria Garcia, 53, of Hialeah, who Monday night brought her daughters to check out the pool. “I feel like we are at a resort, it has everything.”

The old Miami Springs city pool that served the community for decades was demolished in March 2015 in hopes of rebuilding by summer 2016. In January, though, it was believed the pool wouldn’t open until after Labor Day. In March, the city said it would open the pool in time for Fourth of July.

On July 1, Miami Springs held a grand opening celebration. The next day, though, Miami-Dade’s Health Department said not so fast.

“They have many violations,” Enviromental Health and Engineering Director Samir Elmir told the Herald on July 7. “This is why the aquatic center remains closed.”

Elmir said his department inspected the pool on June 30, a day before the grand opening.

“The city called us [July 1] and said ‘We have a grand opening,” Elmir said. “I told them that we cannot authorize this to be open until you fix the problems.”

Some of the violations include issues with safety plans for the slide, the installation of a thermometer, and electrical interlocks, according to a County inspection report dated July 6 obtained by the Herald through a public records request. The city also failed to provide a copy of the “final inspection” as well as submit information showing the slide is “structurally” sound.

“Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances the aquatic center will be closed until further notice,” stated a sign posted July 2 at the pool. “Inspectors have some additional safety measures they would like implemented before we open.”

On what would have been opening day, the city stationed lifeguards at the pool entrance on what would be opening day to ward off a steady stream of locals hoping to swim laps, relax in a cabana or glide down the giant slide.

“There is no excuse for this on the busiest summer family holiday of the year,” said Martin Marquez of Miami Springs, who works as an architect and sits on the city’s planning and zoning board. “Many residents planned their holiday around our Miami Springs pool opening event.”

The pool remained closed through the Fourth of July holiday and finally opened Friday afternoon. The Aquatic Center’s slide hasn’t yet opened, however.

If you go

▪ What: Miami Springs Aquatic Center

▪ Where: 1401 Westward Dr., Miami Springs

▪ Summer hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays; noon to 6 p.m. Sundays

For information, call 305-805-5078