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Watertown City Council eliminates Thompson Park parking lot

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WATERTOWN — Park-goers and golfers will no longer be able to use a makeshift parking lot in an area of Thompson Park near the Watertown Golf Club.

After years of debate, the City Council passed an ordinance 3-1 Tuesday night to eliminate the overflow parking area, with Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith defending that it should remain in existence.

Councilor Sarah V. Compo Pierce was absent from the meeting.

The ordinance deletes the gravel area from the city code’s list of designated parking areas for Thompson Park.

The parking area has been a source of debate for years and a subject of a lawsuit before the latest round of “Golf Gate” came up.

The vote came up on Tuesday night after council members erroneously failed to take a final vote two weeks ago on an environmental study related to eliminating the parking lot.

Mayor Smith and Councilors Lisa A. Ruggiero and Cliff G. Olney III debated the issue again for 40 minutes on Tuesday night.

The two council members argued over golfers primarily using the lot and the Watertown Golf Club getting preferential treatment.

Meanwhile, Mayor Smith contended that there has been no conspiracy to allow the golf club to use the area for parking, adding that “nobody cares about which blade of grass up there somebody’s parking on.”

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