Watertown pool targeted for closure is city’s most used

WWNY Watertown pool targeted for closure is city’s most used

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - To save money, Watertown lawmakers are set on closing the Alteri Pool at the fairgrounds. However, we've learned it's the pool that attracts the most swimmers each summer and money has been sunk into it.

Watertown’s Alteri Pool is the city’s most popular pool based on head count numbers. Over the last 6 years, approximately 1,300 more swimmers visit the fairgrounds pool every summer than the Flynn Pool on the city’s north side.

"I just think it is the wrong decision to make at the wrong time. I feel that this budget was balanced on the backs of kids that are going to be suffering from not having that pool," said Watertown City Council Member Lisa Ruggiero.

Ruggiero wants to keep all three pools open. She says the city could look into cutting costs in other ways, like shortening the pool's hours, instead of closing it altogether.

The pool will need some work in the future. It needs its filter replaced.

Officials say that would cost about $100,000, but back in 2012, the pool was resurfaced and that cost the city $100,000.

Renovations were also made to the pool's bathhouse back in 2015, part of a $10 million renovation to the arena.

Ruggiero says there will be costs to closing the pool. Dissembling the old Thompson Park Pool cost the city around $115,000.

"You got some people that just want to tear it out. That to me is waste of our infrastructure. I look at it as it is our job to maintain and preserve the city infrastructure, not destroy it," she said.

Some residents say they are surprised about the pool closing, including a distant cousin of Steve Alteri, for whom the pool is named.

"I'm disappointed at the thought that we could possibly lose that pool which has been a fixture in the sand flats for years, being it's named after a man who, in my opinion, dedicated much of his life to serving our country, serving our county, serving community," said Paul Alteri.

Another resident says city pools are important to kids and seniors.

"Every neighborhood needs one. We have always had three pools. Pools are where people can go and relax and release their stress," said Debbie Dermady, Make a Splash-Keep Three Pools in Watertown Group.

Council will be holding a public comment session about the 2020-2021 spending plan next Tuesday and is expected to approve the budget June 1

Copyright 2020 WWNY. All rights reserved.