Watertown Officials Face Sticker Shock Over Pool Costs

Watertown Officials Face Sticker Shock Over Pool Costs

Posted: Updated: Apr 10, 2019 07:49 AM

There was frustration across the board Tuesday night as Watertown's city council found out the price tag for the Thompson Park pool has gone up -- a lot.

"It's April and we were under the impression that the design we had in December was what was going to go out to bid," council member Cody Horbacz said.

That was his reaction as city lawmakers learned new design plans are going to cost a half-million dollars more than expected.

Factoring in demolishing the old pool, renovating the bathhouse, and building the new pool, engineers presented a new figure of around $2.8 million.

That's up $500,000 from the $2.3 million number council members signed off on in December.

"The costs were significantly higher than even I had expected based on their numbers in December," city engineer Justin Wood said. "They're working hard to bring this project back down to council's budget."

The added costs are prompting calls for cuts to the original plans, including eliminating the handicap-accessible entryway and shrinking the pool occupancy from 293 people to about 230. The pool would still be handicap-accessible.

"I've seen it before, it's unpleasant, it's hard to believe," Mayor Joe Butler said. "We'll get some answers or at least how we arrived at the number."

Until lawmakers get those answers and see a reduced cost, they say they're reserving any decision on the designs.

The plans will be revisited at Monday's council meeting.

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