Proposed new Nauck pool

Macedonia Baptist Church has received approval from Arlington County Board members for a new pool (shown topped by a wintertime bubble) in the Nauck community. 

The return of a long-shuttered pool will bring a needed amenity to the Nauck community. But is there a price to be paid in additional traffic in an already congested neighborhood?

Arlington County Board members on Oct. 23 approved necessary procedural steps for Macedonia Baptist Church to construct a seven-lane, 25-meter pool across the street from its sanctuary. It is the same location Veterans Memorial YMCA operated a pool for decades.

The pool will be open to the sky during warmer months, then topped by a 25-foot dome to be used during cooler periods of the year. The complex also will include changing rooms and several community meeting rooms.

“Not only will it benefit Macedonia, it will benefit Nauck . . . and the many schools [nearby],” said Quincy Henderson, a parishioner at the church for nearly 60 years.

But the approval did not come without concerns being raised.

Donna Hill, who lives across the street from the parcel, was among those saying the facility will add traffic to an already congested area.

“We have school buses, Metrobuses, kids going to school,” she said.

It was a view echoed by Nauck Civic Association president Portia Clark, whose organization supports the project but pressed county officials to make sure the neighborhood had a say on issues related to its development, including operating hours and parking.

“Our community has some parking challenges,” Clark said. “The community should be involved.”

All things considered, however, Clark said the pool would be a net plus for local residents. “We’re looking forward to it,” she said.

County leaders promised to stay engaged. “We all work better when we all abide by the rules and work together,” County Board Chairman Katie Cristol said.

Under the plan adopted by County Board members, those using the pool would be able to park in Macedonia’s 60-vehicle lot, and the pool would not be open at times that conflicted with church services.

The pool would have only limited space for spectators, making it an unlikely place to hold competitions. But Clark said the county government should allow them if they include youth from the surrounding neighborhood.

The complex’s construction is a joint effort of the church and Arlington Water Polo Club, which will use the facility for practices and training. It will be open to the public when not in use by the club.

The Veterans Memorial YMCA pool was constructed in the 1960s but sat been unused for years. Laverne Langhorn, a Nauck resident and Macedonia parishioner, was looking forward to see a new pool rise in its place.

“We really do miss the pool,” she said. “It was very beneficial to all the children, and the adults as well.”

The project long has been sought by Macedonia officials, but was held up due to what even county officials acknowledged were antiquated county zoning regulations related to pools. In another Oct. 23 action, the County Board approved an amendment to Arlington’s zoning ordinance that gives board members more flexibility in addressing specific requests by operators of pools in the county.