On May 26, the historic Plunge at Belmont Park was closed indefinitely due to structural safety issues and a dispute over how to pay for the needed repairs.
The city owns the Plunge and Tom Lochtefeld is the leaseholder who has been maintaining and operating the Plunge and the Wavehouse for the past 11 years. Besides being a historic landmark and tourist attraction, the Plunge has special facilities for disabled persons, and has been a valuable resource for seniors, children and families, lap swimmers, water exercise classes, and youth swim lessons, teams and camps.
Over the years, Mr. Lochtefeld has continuously invested substantial amounts of money into the Plunge to keep it functioning. Recently, after his rent credits expired, Mr. Lochtefeld’s annual rent increased from $70,000 to nearly $500,000. Mr. Lochtefeld asked the city to extend his rent credits so that he can use that money to repair the Plunge. He says he can either pay the rent or pay to repair The Plunge, but he cannot do both. The City maintains that the full rent must be paid and has no plan for how to fund the needed repairs to the Plunge. The negotiations between the City and Mr. Lochtefeld appear to be at a stalemate.
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