Smith wants to close a pool & put up a splash pad instead

Second splashpad

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Newly sworn-in Watertown Mayor Jeff Smith hit the ground running during his swearing in speech Wednesday.

He wants the city to take a look at the performance of the city's existing pools, with the possibility of shutting one down.

"But additionally, not just shutting a pool down," he said. "There's got to be something to replace that, and I propose that we put in a splash pad."

For Lisa Ruggiero and most of the other city council members, it was the first time hearing the idea of a second splash pad.

Ruggiero says the potential project could be costly.

"I think by adding another splash pad, that could be another half a million, $600,000 project," she said, "which could mean adding debt."

Smith says money to build the splash pad could come from what the city saves by not having to operate a third pool.

The second splash pad is just a proposal of what could be done if a pool is shut down, but members of city council want to have an idea of how many people use the three pools before making any decisions.

"We want to have real data, real facts," new council member Jesse Roshia said. "What pool is being utilized, and, of course, I think the thing that is really important is, not just taking an asset like that away, but replacing it with something so that our children have something to look forward to in those areas."

Roshia says Watertown can't support three pools.

Ruggiero says it wouldn't be the first time the city has done so.

"Only until about five years ago have we been down a pool," she said, "so since the early 1970s, we've had three pools in operation."

Ruggiero says construction of the Thompson Park pool is on schedule and should be open mid-July.

Copyright 2020 WWNY. All rights reserved.