Thompson Park Pool officially opens

Thompson Park Pool officially opens

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - With the cut of a ribbon and the splash of a cannonball, the Thompson Park Pool is officially open.

“I’ve waited the whole summer for this!” said Masun Hughes, who went swimming opening day.

“This Thompson Park gem that Watertown has is going to remain an excellent place to play for generations to come,” said North Country Assemblyman Mark Walzyck.

Generations of guests of all abilities attended. The $3.1 million pool and bathhouse are handicap accessible and friendly for swimmers of all ages.

“I think it’s really good for the little kids with like the shallow walkway, cause my little brothers can go play over there and we can have fun over here,” said Kaydence Oregon.

City staff are also being safe in the way of coronavirus. All guests provide their contact information, so if anyone tests positive for the virus, other swimmers can be notified.

And, guests can access the pool even if they don’t have a ride. The City of Watertown is offering a free shuttle bus to and from the facility.

For some, seeing the old Thompson Park Pool revived is an emotional experience.

“I haven’t swam here since I was nine years old, I used to come here all the time with my friends and family growing up, this is a great memory, it’s like a childhood memory, it means a lot to me,” said Ann Meilleur.

But as happy as so many people are to see this pool open, many others haven’t forgotten about the closure of the Alteri Pool at the Watertown Fairgrounds.

At the ribbon cutting ceremony, one group came with signs to remind city officials they’re still rallying for all three Watertown pools to be open.

“These are neighborhood pools and they mean a lot for a lot of people in the neighborhoods,” said Debbie Dermady, who advocates for opening all three Watertown pools.

“If I was mayor, I’d make all the pools open. We need as much pools as we can!,” said young Masun Hughes.

“It’s $125 thousand to operate that pool in the Fairgrounds. You have to plan ahead. Nobody is excited about having to close that pool, but you can’t turn around and say, well, we’re not going to raise taxes and then keep all three pools open,” said Watertown Mayor Jeff Smith.

Politics aside, the opening day of the pool saw big splashes and bigger smiles.

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