ISHOF Leaving Town ?

     After about a decade of false starts to rebuild Fort Lauderdale's Aquatic Facility, an approved plan seems to be moving ahead, but probably without the entity that made it famous -

                           ...... the International Swimming Hall of Fame,


     ISHOF's CEO, Bruce Wigo, confirmed today that talks are underway to move the museum out of Fort Lauderdale. Discussions are ongoing with numerous venues, including Oceanside California, which recently had an item on their City Commission agenda about "real estate negotiations" with ISHOF.

     Fort Lauderdale won the right to establish the nation's first swimming hall of fame in 1962, and built a peninsula out into the Intracoastal waterway in order to build the complex.

     ISHOF has had many of the worlds' famous swimmers associated with it since.


     Probably the most famous was Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller (aka Tarzan), who is immortalized with a statue in the museum. He's pictured above doing his famous yell (can't you just hear the ah-ih-ah-ih-ah! - Wikipedia describes the yell as the "victory cry of the bull ape" !).

    Other famous swim names like Esther Williams, Mark Spitz, Michael Phelps, and Greg Louganis (who trained in Fort Lauderdale and famously admitted to having AIDS after hitting his head and bleeding into a pool during a diving competition) competed in the Fort Lauderdale pools.

                                               Louganis in Fort Lauderdale

     Wigo says the museum has no choice but to look to set up their international headquarters somewhere else, after Fort Lauderdale's offer to the museum was "a joke", and an "after thought". 

     Wigo says the new Fort Lauderdale plan has the museum in the middle of the complex, with no view, "in a box". Wigo says they are exploring their options to see what their "equity value" is to other cities. Wigo says even Shanghai, China has expressed an interest in ISHOF!

     Wigo also is worried that the new Fort Lauderdale plan will only lead to more red ink at the complex, which often loses nearly one million dollars a year, and that Fort Lauderdale needs to "rethink the aquatic business".

     I'll keep you informed ..... Tim



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  • 5/6/2013 1:04 PM Michael wrote:
    We saw this coming a long time ago. It's no surprise and a waste to lose. A gem the city leaders haven't realized for quite some time.
    Reply to this
  • 5/6/2013 5:21 PM John Weaver wrote:
    A few years back, the CBA opposed the process by which the Aquatic Center was being awarded. Basically, here's what happened:

    1) The Aquatic Complex construction contract was awarded to a company when the CBA thought that the project should have been rebid.
    2) The ISHOF commissioned 2 reports indicating that the plans submitted to the city were at best unrealistic and at worst impossible.
    3) The ISHOF (lead by Bruce Wigo) was against this project and these plans.
    4) The CBA joined in fighting the project based mainly on the ISHOF commissioned reports. After all, they are the experts.
    5) At the final commission meeting to determine the acceptance/rejection of these plans, I was ready to state the CBA's position against this project.
    6) Right before I was to speak, Bruce Wigo (of the ISHOF) stood before the commission and praised the project, offering his support. He said some small changes were made that changed the entire scope of the project, and now he and the ISHOF were solidly behind it.
    7) Since that time, based solely on the change of position from the ISHOF, THE CBA HAS SUPPORTED THE PROJECT.

    Now, imagine my surprise to find out that the ISHOF is looking to move, doesn't like the project, worries that we'll be awash in red ink, and thinks the city should "rethink the aquatic business".

    Personally, I'm all for the rethinking. I believe that site would be an amazing place for a small convention center. All of the upscale hotels are in place and it's a great location. It just might turn a profit and help the local economy.

    John Weaver
    CBA President
    Reply to this
  • 5/6/2013 7:26 PM Sam wrote:
    I blame the selfish people that live on the "barrier island"- talk about barriers- they are so selfish about ruining "their view, their traffic", etc.. that progress cannot happen on the beach ( Palazzo is a good example of this).
    The Commissioners and Mayor listen to their whinings, because let's face it, the constituents down there have deeper pockets for campaign donations, so their voices resonate deeper than those of ours in the "hood" that tend to welcome progress...
    Alas, the City loses an influx of new job opportunities, potential income,tourist and resident attractions due to the self serving opinions of a group of people that seemingly feel that the barrier island is worthy only to those that are lucky enough to already reside there.....
    Reply to this
  • 5/6/2013 7:42 PM Anonymous wrote:
    broward county again is considering a convention center after workshop last month
    why would they build an aquatic complex if there would be no events? are they adding the wave pool?
    just another city pool for residents?
    why the bleachers? sounds like another south side school that we will give away after frittering away the $75,000,000.00 in cra $
    Reply to this
    1. 5/9/2013 2:32 PM Dennis Ulmer wrote:
      We have a convention Center. The county wants to build a hotel AT the convention center.
      Reply to this
  • 5/6/2013 8:07 PM Doug Thomas wrote:
    We need to give credit to this City leadership. They are geting something accomplished. I agree that it could be more, and I agree that they should try and keep the museum, but really, at least they got it going.
    Reply to this
  • 5/7/2013 6:38 AM Abby Laughlin wrote:

    Amazing scoop! If we have to go back to the drawing board on this parcel, I would love to see an aquarium there. It would honor our marine history, give tourists, locals and school children a chance to have an inclusive positive experience at this site. An aquarium could be multi purpose with after hour uses for events. Many a wedding or business reception has booked an aquarium after hours for their event. It could be a stop on the water taxi. It could include museum space for beach history and an environmental center for (dare I say it) our turtles and our manatees. We could get the Guy Harvey Marine Institute involved. So many possibilities to serve the community, the school system, business travelers and tourists alike.

    Abby Laughlin
    Reply to this
    1. 5/9/2013 2:34 PM Dennis Ulmer wrote:
      Look into it. Aquariums are mot making money. I believe that they lose BIG money in most cities.
      Reply to this
  • 5/10/2013 6:37 PM LJ wrote:
    ISHOF may leave...???
    Oh heck... Oh dread... yawn.
    Any one been in to see the dusty swim suits lately... ???
    Gosh... we might miss them. Not ?
    Reply to this
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