Alteri pool supporters protest before Watertown city council meeting

Updated: Aug. 18, 2020 at 6:32 AM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Protesters gathered outside Watertown city hall before Monday night’s city council meeting denouncing the the plan to close the Alteri Pool at the fairgrounds.

The council voted 4 to 1 during a work session last Monday to decommission the pool.

Officials say the city can’t afford to maintain three pools now that the Thompson Park pool is open.

At least a dozen of the protesters spoke at the beginning of the meeting.

“The fairgrounds with its many ballfields, basketball courts, horse rings, walking trails, skate parks, new arena, pool, camp sites, picnic pavilion, and playground make for a premier recreation site,” one speaker said. “Taking away the pool will leave a gaping hole in such a wonderful site.”

“Our Girl Scouts, when they have day camp down at the fairgrounds, they go to the Alteri Pool,” Memory Berry said. “It’s a great draw, they love to swim every day.”

Council member Lisa Ruggiero continued her support for keeping the Alteri pool open.

Ryan Henry-Wilkinson said he thinks the city should wait before filling in the pool.

Sarah Compo and Jesse Roshia said they still think the pool should be closed.

Mayor Jeff Smith went through cities of a similar size to Watertown and listed the number of pools they have.

Smith maintained his stance on closing the pool.

As for a deed that raised questions over the legality of closing the Alteri pool, city attorney Bob Slye said there is a 10-year statute of limitations on the deed.

The deed is from 1943. It's for Kostyk Field, a small park located a few blocks from Alteri pool.

Ruggiero says it mentions constructing and maintaining a pool on the property and says the field would return to the heirs of the Kostyk family if a pool were not built.

Slye said the Alteri pool was built in the 1970s, well after the statute of limitations was up.

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