Broward News

International Swimming Hall of Fame Class of 2015 Won't Be Enshrined in Fort Lauderdale

Looks like we're finally witnessing the final death throes of the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale.

Last year, the hall's board of directors voted to stop contract negotiations with the City of Fort Lauderdale and pack up their memorabilia -- such as Mark Spitz's starting blocks, Jenny Thompson's medals, and Greg Louganis' stuff -- and relocate someplace else.

And now comes the news that the 2015 Swimming Hall of Fame inductees will be enshrined in California, marking the first time in 50 years that the enshrinement won't be happening in Fort Lauderdale.

See also: An Underage Sex Scandal Leads to Fort Lauderdale's Swimming Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame signed a memorandum with the City of Santa Clara to be a part of a new swimming complex being built there.

"This is where we have an agreement. This is where we'll be," the Hall of Fame's executive director, Bruce Wigo, told the Sun Sentinel. "We're leaving Fort Lauderdale. There's no question."

It's been a rough year for the Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, first with the news of it relocating out of the city, then with a five-month investigation by New Times that uncovered accusations of sexual abuse of underaged swimmers at the hands of prominent coaches who were inducted in the hall and worked as coaches in Fort Lauderdale.

Jack Nelson, who passed away in November at age 82, was a championship swimmer and coach who taught multiple champions in Fort Lauderdale, including five Olympic medal winners and four world record holders, including famed long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad.

Nyad was one of the more prominent figures to accuse Nelson of abuse.

The International Swimming Hall of Fame, which has made its home in Fort Lauderdale since 1964, will be moving out of Fort Lauderdale by the end of March, though the city did try to keep it here.

There was a planned $33.7 million aquatic complex in the works that the city and the hall couldn't agree on, though commissioners are supposed to revisit the plans for the project in January.

To pay for the complex, Fort Lauderdale estimates it will have around $78 million in beach redevelopment revenues, though it would still be short around $50 million for the overall $160 million that would go into not only a new complex but also renovations to the old one, according to a Sun Sentinel report from earlier this month.

A Facebook page titled "Keep the ISHO in Fort Lauderdale" was launched in July. It has since received 591 likes.

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