A renowned aquatic center on International Drive in the tourism corridor of Orlando has been named after the prominent hotelier who saved it from being shuttered more than 25 years ago. Now owned by the YMCA, the facility adopted a new name on July 26: the Rosen YMCA Aquatic Center, in honor of Harris Rosen.
The former Justus Aquatic Center was closed in 1992 by the mortgage holder. Rosen, who visited the facility frequently to swim there, said it was a surprise to patrons. “I remember arriving to the center one day and finding some Special Olympians hovering about,” he said. “One of the youngsters recognized me as a swimmer there. They asked me if they’d done something wrong, to have it closed. I knew I had to do something.”
Rosen rallied the community to join him in donating money to save the center, which ultimately was gifted to the YMCA of Central Florida. Revenue-generating programs were put in place to help offset operating costs. The state-of-the-art facility features two Olympic-size swimming pools and new diving platforms.