City Pool Celebrates 25 Years As Namesake is Remembered
By Office of Communication
Posted on June 21, 2012, June 21, 2012

Twice a day for years, Allen Bolden would head to the swimming pool for grueling practices.

Captain of the Arlington ISD swim team, Bolden was ranked among the top 16 swimmers in the nation and planned to attend Texas Christian University on an athletic scholarship. He dreamed of being a sports medicine doctor.

Then on June 28, 1985, as he left the Fort Worth Boys Club where he worked as a lifeguard and swim instructor, Bolden was abducted and murdered by two men who stole his car.

He was just 17.

Two years later, Arlington opened the Allen Bolden Pool in Vandergriff Park in his honor.

Allen Bolden Pool - still one of the most popular public aquatics facilities in the area - is celebrating its 25thanniversary. On Saturday, hundreds gathered for a dedication and "Blast from the Past" party, featuring music from the 1980s, as well as the 1987 admission fee, $1.50.

"Arlington has gone above and beyond. I was flabbergasted the city wanted to do this," said Ed Bolden, Allen Bolden's father. "We had a great day remembering Allen and watching all of the kids play. We are very appreciative."

City officials gave Bolden's family a commemorative plaque with a 1987 photograph of the swimming pool.

"We wanted this to be a meaningful event for Allen's family," said Jeff Jack, the city's parks marketing technician. "It turned out to be an overwhelming success."

When it opened in 1987, Allen Bolden Pool became the city's first "campus-type" aquatics center. Surrounded by five acres of manicured open space, the pool offers a laidback, family friendly atmosphere for swimming and socializing. Lanes for lap swimming and swim lessons for all ages are among the amenities.

The Bolden family's connection to the pool grew, as Allen Bolden's younger brother, Kevin, later worked there as a lifeguard.

Drawing thousands of swimmers each year, Ed Bolden said, the pool is a fitting tribute to his son, who spent countless hours swimming and graduated with honors from Lamar High School.

"Allen tried every sport out there," Ed Bolden said. "For some reason, he fell in love with swimming."

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