The 2028 Summer Olympics are still a decade away, but officials in Irvine, California — located about 40 minutes southeast of Los Angeles, host of the 2028 Games — already are planning ahead.
A $50 million pool complex proposed at the Orange County Great Parkcould be the site of the Olympics water polo competition.
“This is a thing that the council has been talking about working on for about a decade now,” Irvine Mayor Don Wagner told The Orange County Register. “This is a venue that could be, and ideally would be, available for the 2028 Olympic games.”
USA Water Polo and city leaders are expected to begin negotiations soon that could lead to a new facility on Irvine-owned land near an ice rink already under constructionthat will host Anaheim Ducks practices upon its expected completion in December.
“Similar to the city’s deal for the $104 million ice rink, Irvine would lease property to USA Water Polo, which would pay to build and operate the pool complex,” the paper reports. “The city would be guaranteed a negotiated amount of time for the public to use the facility.
If a deal can be reached, USA Water Polo spokesperson Greg Mescall says the facility could break ground by 2021. In addition to being a potential Olympics venue, it also could host swim meets and community pool activities.
He cites Irvine’s transit system, number of hotels and proximity to airports as advantages, and Orange County is renowned for its large concentration of water polo players. Plus, USA Water Polo plans to relocate its headquarters from Huntington Beach, Calif., to Irvine in 2019.
The Orange County Registeralso reports that an economic study from USA Water Polo suggests a ripple effect from the proposed water polo facility of as much as $1 billion for the city’s economy over 50 years.