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Richmond jewel reborn

on August 17, 2010

After two years of tireless fundraising, intensive construction and nearly $8 million in costs, the 324,000-gallon Richmond Plunge swimming pool is now open to all.

No one has a richer perspective on the pool, originally built in 1926, than June Albonico. She first visited the Plunge with her father during the early years of the Great Depression, later becoming a lifeguard in 1956.

Albonico, 83, frequently visited the site during its re-construction, and shared her memories during a video interview with Richmond Confidential in April.

“I have waited for the day for so long,” Albonico then said of the Plunge’s re-opening. “When it comes, I’ll know that I’ll never have to be without it again, and so many others will be able to enjoy it like I have.”

While the pool is a throwback to an era when huge, urban public swimming pools were hailed as major social and economic benefits to American communities, it is also outfitted with modern technology.

Solar panels will generate heat to keep the water warm, provide lighting and power operable windows and pumps.

The pool’s long hiatus was precipitated by the Loma Prieta quake of 1989, which heavily damaged the Plunge. Inspectors recommended closure, and a ballot measure to fund repairs was nixed by voters.

The pool closed in 2001.

The Save the Richmond Plunge Trust and other resident fundraising efforts helped revive hope for the pool and drew additional public and private funds. The 60-by-160-foot pool re-opened to the public on August 14, 2010.

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Richmond Confidential

Richmond Confidential is an online news service produced by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism for, and about, the people of Richmond, California. Our goal is to produce professional and engaging journalism that is useful for the citizens of the city.

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