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swimming pool

Watertown pool attendance increased by 8,000 people this summer

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WATERTOWN — Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith and Councilwoman Lisa A. Ruggiero continue to disagree about whether the city needs three pools as attendance figures from this summer show an 8,000 visit increase from the previous season.

Mayor Smith is still convinced that the city-owned pools at Thompson Park and the Alex T. Fairgrounds are enough. Councilwoman Ruggiero remains committed to opening a third pool at North Elementary School.

While the debate rages on, Scott M. Weller, parks and recreation superintendent, on Thursday released attendance figures for the two pools that were open this summer showing that 26,327 people swam in them, up from 18,511 in 2021.

Of the total, 21,252 took a dip in the park pool, while 5,075 went to the Steven D. Alteri pool at the fairgrounds.

“An 80 to 20 split tells me we don’t need three pools,” Mayor Smith said, stressing that he’s held that argument right along.

But Councilwoman Ruggiero sees the pool attendance figures a different way.

“I think 8,000 is unbelievable,” she said.

About the comparison in attendance between the two pools, she noted that the park opened on weekends for more than a month earlier and stayed open more than a week later than the Altieri pool. It opened June 28 and closed Aug. 28.

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Parents talk pros and cons of reopening Watertown’s Flynn pool

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WATERTOWN — Monday turned out to be a hot, sunny day in the north country, which drew people to Watertown’s water attractions.

Two of the water attractions — Thompson Park’s splash pad and the Steve D. Alteri Municipal Swimming Pool at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds — were busy with people looking to cool off from the summer sun.

The Thompson Park pool was closed Monday.

The city’s third pool, the William J. Flynn pool complex at North Elementary School, has been closed for the past two summers.

The city hired C&S Companies, Syracuse, to assess the Flynn pool and in a 48-page engineering report provided to the city, the firm has suggested either replacing the pool and updating the bathhouse at a cost of $4.13 million, or repairing the pool and bathhouse at an estimated cost of $2.913 million.

The City Council on Monday night resumed discussion of the Flynn pool and the C&S firm’s recommendations.

Some residents would like to see the pool reopened due to convenience and community investment.

“We actually live over by Leray Street so it’d be easier instead of having to travel all the way over here,” Dwayne Sullivan said Monday at the Alteri pool on the city’s west side.

Phoebus Lazaridis, who moved to Watertown in April 2017, said that on days when his family can’t get to a state park, they go to the city’s pools instead.

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Watertown YMCA closes 109-year-old downtown pool

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WATERTOWN — For 109 years, generations of area residents have learned how to swim in the lap pool at the downtown YMCA.

But that long history with the community has come to an end.

The Watertown Family YMCA Board of Directors has announced that the pool that served so many will be closed permanently after a structural evaluation determined it was no longer safe.

The pool recently was drained and won’t be refilled, YMCA CEO Denise K. Young said.

Results of the most recent assessment recommended the closure and decommissioning of the pool to ensure the safety of members and guests, she said.

With the age of the lap pool, the YMCA has “done due diligence and conducted structural assessments twice in the past five years,” she said.

Despite the lap pool’s closure, the YMCA will offer lap pool swim opportunities at varying times in the recreational pool at the downtown center.

The Watertown High School pool also will be open to lap pool swimmers from 6:15 a.m. to 7:15 a.m. during the week, by appointment only through GroupEx PRO at the YMCA beginning on July 5.

The downtown facility’s lap pool has been a community asset for more than a century.

Five generations of Jefferson County residents learned to swim at the YMCA.

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Pool at fairgrounds in Watertown to open next Tuesday

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WATERTOWN — The city pool at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds should make its return next Tuesday after a two-year absence.

Parks and Recreation Superintendent Scott D. Weller said Tuesday the plan is for repairs to be completed on the Steve D. Alteri Municipal Swimming Pool at the fairgrounds on Coffeen Street by next Tuesday.

“Barring anything foreseen, it’s still for opening Tuesday,” he said.

The City Council set a goal to reopen the pool in time for the summer. The pool had to undergo some repairs.

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New council majority agrees to pursue three city pools

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WATERTOWN — The new majority on City Council showed Monday night it has enough support to pursue giving north-side residents back the William J. Flynn Municipal Swimming Pool at North Elementary School.

After nearly three hours of discussion, Councilwoman Lisa A. Ruggiero and new Councilmen Cliff G. Olney III and Patrick J. Hickey informally agreed to move forward with a Flynn pool project.

Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith and Councilwoman Sarah V. Compo-Pierce opposed spending at least $735,000 on making repairs to the pool, arguing that the city doesn’t need three pools in the summer and it cannot afford them.

“The city doesn’t need a pool that will be used 10, 12 weeks a year,” Mayor Smith said.

In the informal vote on Monday night, City Manager Kenneth A. Mix was instructed to have an engineering firm look at a couple of alternatives for the pool project and come up with an estimate for its cost.

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