DEAR WEHO: I’m already frustrated with the Aquatic and Recreation Center

Have a letter for City Council or City Hall you want us to publish? E-mail it to brandon@wehoville.com

June 27, 2022 

Dear West Hollywood, 

It is with bittersweetness that I write to tell you about my experiences using the new Aquatic and Recreation Center now open on a limited basis. 

I attended my second water fitness class today. I have paused my post back surgery physical therapy sessions at the Elizabeth Taylor Aquatic Center in Culver City in order to attend these long overdue sessions offered by the city. I realize everything is new and being offered on a limited basis and kinks need to be worked out, but there are a few things I need to bring to your attention so maybe we as a city can do better for our seniors and disabled residents. 

Due to my mobility issues, I like attending water fitness classes but getting to these classes seems to be made difficult due to the design of the building and elevators that aren’t meant to be accessed on the first floor where Dial a Ride vans and Uber/Lyft drop-offs take place.   

Photo by Jon Viscott

Wednesday of last week when I was dropped off there were some construction crew members who informed me the elevators don’t work on this floor and I was to walk around the side of the building and use the wheelchair ramp to enter off the Park entrance.  I said I was not capable of making that walk so one of the workers used his pass key to access the elevator for me.   

Today the elevators were again not accessible from the disabled drop off location. But no one was around to help me this time.  It took everything I had to make the long walk along the side of the center and around the wheelchair ramp to gain entrance to the building.  How bizarre to make disabled and elderly people walk around to another entrance when there are elevators right there but do not work from that level.  We can do better. 

Another concern I have is the lack of seating in key areas within the center.  

First there is no bench to sit and wait for Dial a ride or uber/lyft at the pickup drop off zone. Why? 

And in the men’s change room there is one small bench tucked in the corner by the lockers.  Where are people supposed to sit and change? How bizarre this was so grossly overlooked in the design. Today I had to sit and change in the handicap shower that has a small bench inside. Again, we can do better. 

Why are there no soap dispensers in the showers? Especially in times like these where cleanliness and hygiene are encouraged, the city can’t supply body soap in the shower? Even if I brought my own there’s no where to put it except on the floor. YIKES, no shelf. We can do better. 

Another concern I have is that El Tovar Place is not clearly marked for Uber Drivers to find the new building entrance.  It took me five minutes over the phone to instruct the Ambiance/Lyft driver where to pick me up. Her complaint being the street is not clearly marked. Today I noticed the street sign on the other side of Robertson under a tree.   Even the Dial A Ride van driver couldn’t see it.  We can do better.  

I absolutely love the class, the instructors are fun and energetic, but it is very difficult to hear what they are saying. I am half deaf with tinnitus in one ear.  Why are they not equipped with a headset/microphone and tied into the speaker system?  The music is great but completely drowns out the screaming instructor. What an oversight in my opinion. 

I look forward to future classes but if I can’t access the building from the drop-off zone, I may have to rethink my plans and go back to Culver City which would be a shame.   

I look forward to someone with a reply to respond to these concerns. 

Thank you 

West Hollywood Resident of 28 years 

Kevin Ross  

UPDATE:
I tried to attend Water Fitness class today but was once again greeted with non-working elevators from the Dial a Ride drop off zone at 8750 El Tovar Place.  I am not capable of walking around to gain entrance from the Park area.  This is unacceptable and I have filed a report with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.  Record number is: 172668-JJD.

Until I get confirmation from someone at City Hall regarding this, I am forced to cancel my future reservations I have in place for water fitness class. What a complete shame I cannot use the new facility after having waited so long for it to open. Why is there not someone manning that entrance? There is a staff member who sits on the fourth floor outside the changing rooms, maybe another staff member is needed to act as concierge on the first floor.  


We can do better by trying harder.


Disgruntled Resident
Kevin Ross
980 Palm Ave.

Kevin Ross

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JRBirdsong
JRBirdsong
1 month ago

I have not been there yet, but the facility looks fantastic. HOWEVER, I do wonder how much water is in the pool? Where will that water go in the event of an earthquake? Are we talking millions of dollars of damage and lawsuits? Just wondering if the pool was practical on the roof?

Rex
Rex
1 month ago

As someone in the field, I can tell you that the no-brainer for a project this large is to have a City-staff engineer or architect overseeing the construction managers, and pointing out problems before they became set in stone. This would be Obvious Priority #1, full stop. Did The City not do this?

Where Is the Project Manager?
Where Is the Project Manager?
1 month ago
Reply to  Rex

Agreed, as I have previously commented:“Where Is the Project Manager?”

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 month ago

After spending $200 million…..it will have to be torn down for code issues.

This is what you get…..when silly unaccomplished people are on the city council.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

it will have to be torn down for code issues.”

You’re such a fool. Nothing is getting torn down. You have a knack for spreading misinformation and complete nonsense.

Dennis B
Dennis B
1 month ago

Well, what do you expect from a park project that cost $200 million? That it should be functional & useable & convenient? Dream on. This is West Hollywood. The cost of that park alone is staggering. But they do have a sweeping staircase Definitely not a $200 million job.. But then again, this is West Hollywood

angry gay pope
1 month ago

Hopefully by Halloween or next Gay Pride Weho it will be more of a community hub open to the public w/event specific stuff. Bugs worked out.

Sahand
Sahand
1 month ago

OMG the comments here are ridiculous. Calm down! They’re not even officially back open at 100%. Give them a minute to get it right. If you’re complaining about West Hollywood, then what do you have to say about the rest of LA? Go live in the hideous, 60’s architectural, sprawling valley.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 month ago
Reply to  Sahand

relax Francis

Randy
Randy
1 month ago

I would give the city a chance to address these issues before reporting them to the ADA. Someone addressed the issue of not having a bench at the pickup spot last night, during public comment. Maybe threaten to report them to the ADA, and that might put some of these things into high gear.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago

Reminder to everyone: The whole center is in a soft opening phase. Not all features are available and the staff are probably learning about some of these kinks just as the patrons do. I encourage people to be vocal (but kind) to the staff and tell them what needs to be worked on.

Sherlock
Sherlock
1 month ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Supremely strange that you’re on here trying desperately to talk people out of doing the right thing and reporting ADA violations and other hazards. Why? Who do you work for, dude?

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago
Reply to  Sherlock

I think doing the right thing is bringing up the issues to employees during their soft opening phase. That is literally what a soft opening is for- to work out kinks before everything is fully functional. Sorry I didn’t agree with the guy who wanted the pool “shutdown for everyone”.

Supremely strange that you can’t comprehend what I said.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 month ago

This city can’t do anything right. Everything is over-budget and late.

And then the final product is substandard.

Rudi Logan
Rudi Logan
1 month ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

And the sky is falling. Every. Single. Day.

Eric Jon Schmidt-Henderson
Eric Jon Schmidt-Henderson
1 month ago

Immediately report these obvious and intentional design flaws to that ADA and DOJ civil rights division. They will launch investigations and close the facility and/or fine the City every day until every public space on the property is equally accessible to everyone, including and especially disabled Americans. Unless there’s another excuse, this facility was purposely designed to deter disabled persons from using it. It’s not surprising that no one on any design committees or disability committees “overlooked” the rights of disabled Americans. The facility should be closed until it is accessible to all Americans. A Court motion for injunction would… Read more »

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago

Hear me out: Before doing all of that, Kevin could try reporting some of these issues to the employees and see if that helps.

Going scorched earth when the facility has been open barely a week seems a little extreme.

Gorge
Gorge
1 month ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Get em Eric. Anything you can do to destroy the failed fascists in West Hollywood you have my support. $200 million to design the equivalent of the gay titanic. WTG.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
1 month ago

I agree with you Eric. The ADA issues are not soft-opening “kinks” to work out. They are design failures and execution incompetence. Further, WTF is a soft opening on a pool? They had years and a gazillion dollars to figure it out. This is public sector bureaucracy at its worst. Kevin should not have to show up, try to use an inaccessible public facility, and attempt to work with staff to correct the flagrant deficiencies. Ignore the sycophants.

Jonathan
Jonathan
28 days ago

Eric, is this a joke? What a petty tyrant you would make. Why would you propose shutting down the whole aquatics center because it is missing two benches at launch. Get a grip, maybe find a hobby too you loon.

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
1 month ago

Kevin, Every part of this facility should be accessible to you, and everyone else with mobility issues. There are several attorneys who would be more than happy to help address this situation.

I really get frustrated when architects, designers and people in facilities do the minimum to meet code requirements. They’re probably more concerned with providing a place for the swim team to check each other out. Ew.

Susan
Susan
1 month ago
Reply to  WeHo Mary!

Weho Mary. We actually agree on some thing! I have been to the new aquatic center and whoever designed it never consulted the aquatic staff. The whole area seems to be designed as a luxury hotel pool versus a practical public pool. Access is difficult. Putting locker rooms on a separate floor is unsafe. Especially since this is going to entail lots of kids and senior citizens going up and down a wet staircase. The poolside cabanas are poorly designed for handicapped use and don’t drain properly. I hope that West Hollywood has put together a very large fund to… Read more »

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago
Reply to  Susan

Umm did we go to the same pool? Poolside cabanas?! Where?

Do you mean the few chairs set up with a temporary tent over them?

Susan
Susan
1 month ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

No. I mean the handicapped dressing rooms on the deck. EacH is closed off as a separate facility. They contain a changing table for babies, a shower area, a sink and a toilet. So, if you’re talking semantics you can call them private bathroom/changing rooms that are on the pool deck

Susan
Susan
1 month ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

No. I mean the poolside “handicapped dressing rooms”. They each contain a toilet, A sink, a shower, and a foldout diaper table. I apologize for any semantic confusion we are having regarding what we’re going to call them.

Susan
Susan
1 month ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

No. I mean the “handicapped” changing/bathrooms on the deck. They are not especially helpful for people who are handicapped right now. Hopefully the drains will be fixed so that there is a place to stand without getting your clothes wet. I apologize for any semantic confusion about my calling them “cabanas“ A term that is often used for on deck changing rooms.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago
Reply to  Susan

Ah I understand now 🙂

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
1 month ago
Reply to  Susan

We agree because I feel strongly about everyone being able to live their lives safely and with dignity. I even dislike the term “handicapped”, and prefer referring to areas like changing rooms and parking spaces as “accessible”. Hopefully these boys will be respectful and refrain from sexual activity in this facility. I remember seeing some interesting things in the old facility, and I’m sure it’ll happen again.

Susan
Susan
1 month ago
Reply to  WeHo Mary!

Amen

Tom Smart
Tom Smart
1 month ago

How bizarre. None of these issues are nitpicking. Cmon City Hall, wake up.

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