Ruggiero: pool plan ‘vindictive against taxpayers’

Updated: Aug. 11, 2020 at 2:46 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - On the day after four members of the Watertown city council agreed to demolish the fairgrounds pool, the one council member opposed said the decision is “vindictive against taxpayers.”

Mayor Jeff Smith and council members Sarah Compo, Ryan Henry-Wilkinson and Jess Roshia agreed Monday night to get rid of the Alteri pool. Council members are reportedly talking about filing in the pool, and maybe using the area for a “splash pad,” like the one in Thompson Park.

Tuesday, Ruggiero was still aghast at the decision.

“It’s an asset the taxpayers have paid for. And we need three pools; apparently there’s a myth that three pools is too much for Watertown. I think it’s a great thing that we have three pools,” she said.

“The Sand Flats community has been very proud of that over the years. And for no reason other than politics, that pool is going away.”

Roshia, at Monday night’s meeting, argued there is little support for a third pool.

“The reality of our city situation in the city of Watertown is that the tax payers do not support a third pool here,” he said.

“There were seven people that ran for office and if you want to talk about the politics of it, out of those seven people two people publicly supported the pool. Those two respectfully finished dead last in the races.

“There is not a support for a third pool here in the city of Watertown,” he said.

City officials have argued the new Thompson Park pool relieves the need for the Alteri pool, and that the Alteri pool needs expensive work done to it.

But Ruggiero argued Tuesday that the work - a new boiler and filter system - amounts to routine maintenance that the city could pay for by issuing bonds.

“It’s a perfectly good pool - there are no issues with it,” she said. She also pointed out the pool was the most used pool last year.

If nothing else, she said, the pool could simply remained covered for a year or two, and perhaps the city would be in financial shape to re-open it.

The new Thompson Park pool opens Friday. The north side pool has not opened this year - Ruggiero said it’s down for maintenance.

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