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Thompson Park

Watertown will host eclipse viewing event in Thompson Park

in Astronomy/Event 160 views

Thousands of out-of-town visitors are expected to converge on Thompson Park on the day of the total eclipse to experience lasting memories of the sky darkening and to see the shadow of the moon.

“It’s going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Mayor Sarah V. Compo Pierce said.

On April 8, the city will host a viewing party, Total Eclipse of the Park, in Thompson Park for solar spectators coming from all over the country.

With such an influx of visitors, Corey C. Fram, director of the Thousands Islands International Tourism Council, said the city can’t get a much better marketing opportunity than hosting the eclipse.

Although it’s April and not the best time for the weather, Watertown “can impress” eclipse visitors by showing off its beautiful park, that it has 1,200 hotel rooms and it offers quality dining, he said.

“By being a good host, it’s allowing the city to invite those people back,” he said.

For more than a year, a group of local officials and volunteers in Watertown have been planning the Thompson Park event.

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Winter adventurers enjoy city’s first groomed trail at Thompson Park Golf Course

in Entertainment/Sports 26 views

Last weekend was the city’s first time grooming a trail for winter adventurers at the Thompson Park Golf Course.

The city purchased the property from Watertown Golf Club Inc. in January 2023.

Winter adventurers were snowshoeing and cross-country skiing around the 64-acre property on Wednesday morning, when a covering of snow, combined with sunshine and pleasant temperatures, made for ideal conditions.

The city budgeted $50,000 this year for the grooming equipment, which consists of a Kubota utility vehicle, a pair of tracks for that vehicle and a groomer attachment.

After waiting for parts that were on back-order, the city was finally able to put the groomer to use after the most recent snowfall. The trail wraps around the perimeter of the golf course and is roughly a 2-mile lap.

“This is something that we’ve been wanting to do for a while,” said Parks and Recreation Superintendent Scott M. Weller. “Having outdoor activities just provides more recreational opportunities throughout the year.”

“Winters can be long here, so it’s something else that we can offer to the community,” Weller added. “And having the golf course, it just provides that much more open space to be able to get out and groom these trails, and we are excited to have a full season for it next year.”

Not only will the course have a longer season to look forward to, but next year Weller said that the city will roll out a rental program.

Boots, skis and ski poles and snowshoes will be available in kid and adult sizes. They will have 10 pairs of snowshoes and 40 pairs of skis.

With this season nearing its end, four retired teachers who gathered together at the park Wednesday morning said they were happy to have been able to get out at all.

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Watertown adopts Thompson Park master plan

in Local News/Place 432 views

Thompson Park now has a blueprint for the future.

The City Council on Monday night unanimously adopted a master plan for Thompson Park, the first in decades.

The master plan sets a vision for the park and goals for restoration and enhancement, recreational needs, preservation, ecological integrity and ongoing maintenance, city officials said.

Phil Sprague, chairman of the Friends of Thompson Park, said after the vote that the master plan is crucial to the park, adding that it sets forth a plan that has overwhelming support for what’s in the document.

“This is absolutely essential for the park and the people in the community,” he said.

Last February, the city’s consultant, Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners PLLC, New York City, unveiled the 119-page document. The local engineering firm GYMO also worked on the project.

Some of the recommendations include a new bandstand, improved connections to nearby neighborhoods, a more cohesive trail system, additional parking, a winter village and a Thompson Park museum in the old bathhouse.

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Watertown to offer cross-country skiing at Thompson Park

in Uncategorized 77 views

For years, city officials have talked about making Thompson Park more of a place for outdoor activities all-year around.

And just as soon as the park has new fallen snow, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department will be offering cross-country skis and snow-shoes for rent in the historic city park.

“I’m really excited that more people will be coming out for new activities during the winter,” Parks and Recreation Superintendent Scott M. Weller said.

His department purchased about 30 pairs of cross-country skis, boots, poles and snowshoes that will be rented out from the Thompson Park pool’s bathhouse. It also purchased a groomer to create trails, mostly within the Thompson Park Golf Course.

“We’ve got everything we need and are now waiting for snow,” he said.

The rentals will be offered from about 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., before it gets dark.

The rental fees are: $7 for city residents and $10 a day for non-city residents for cross-country skis and boots; and $5 a day for snowshoes for all residents. The City Council set the fees at Monday night’s meeting.

Brian Ashley, vice president of The Friends of Thompson Park, said the winter activities will encourage more people to go to the park.

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Clubhouse opens at Thompson Park Golf Course

in Place 362 views

After weeks of waiting, Spokes on the Green owner Jamie Danielson got the go-ahead Tuesday to open the clubhouse at the Thompson Park Golf Course.

Spokes started with a soft opening for the clubhouse on Wednesday after waiting for the city to complete some major electrical repairs to the historic building.

“Hurry up and wait, just like the Army,” Danielson said.

Spokes will start with a full bar and a limited menu of salads, paninis and flat breads before soon offering a full menu.

The hours will initially be from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and then by the end of next week from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. with a grab-and-go breakfast.

The golf course opened in April. Spokes has been using the events tent for tournaments.

A grand opening — with two Monster Trucks and their drivers on hand — is scheduled for July 21.

Spokes on the Green has a staff of 10, but is continuing to hire more employees.

The electrical work was completed Friday on the clubhouse; the city then inspected the repairs and the state health department gave Spokes final approval to open.

The electric system in the basement had to be replaced. C&S Companies, Syracuse, put together the engineering plans for the project for $8,400, while Blackstone Electric Inc., Dexter, completed the work at a cost of $54,126.15.

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Thompson Park pool, vandalized over holiday, remains closed for scheduled gutter work

in Local News 216 views

Some gutter work will keep the Thompson Park pool closed for the time being.

City Parks and Recreation Department staff closed the park pool on Memorial Day after someone threw a bottle or bottles into the water and they broke.

But the pool was going to be closed and drained on Tuesday anyway for warranty work on its gutters, City Manager Kenneth A. Mix said.

However, people will be able to swim in William J. Flynn Pool at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds this weekend. That pool is scheduled to be open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

At this point, the Thompson Park pool will reopen from 1 to 6 p.m. on the weekends of June 10 and 11, June 17 and 18 and June 24 and 25.

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Thompson Park’s giant golf ball has been returned

in Local News 155 views

The giant golf at the golf course in Thompson Park is back.

The golf ball sign was returned Tuesday afternoon.

“It wasn’t there when I went out and then I went out again, it was there,” golf course manager Jordan Northrop said.

For weeks, the missing golf ball was a thorny issue for some city officials. The ball was removed by former Watertown Golf Club owner Michael E. Lundy and then taken to Ives Hill Country Club on Flower Avenue West as an April Fool’s prank.

Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith wasn’t amused and threatened to have Mr. Lundy arrested.

But the golf ball was placed in the same spot at the city’s newly acquired golf course at about 3:40 p.m.

The city has renamed the 18-hole course the Thompson Park Golf Course.

The ball no longer has the Watertown Golf Club logo, It’s been painted over.

“No one saw it returned,” Mr. Northrop said. “Don’t know who brought it back.”

The city purchased the Watertown Golf Club for $3.4 million from Mr. Lundy in January. The purchase has been a political hot potato, mainly for its price.

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Watertown’s Thompson Park Golf Course readies for Monday opening

in Local News 176 views

The newly acquired Thompson Park Golf Course is just about ready for what is being called a soft opening on Monday.

Course manager Jordan Northrop said Tuesday that he’s putting together the final details to get the golf course open this season, the first year that the city owns and operates the 18-hole course.

“Things are coming together,” he said. “Just working on some final things and just excited.”

The golf course is now selling 2023 season passes.

Weather permitting, the course is scheduled to open to the public at 8 a.m. Monday.

Mr. Northrop acknowledged that Monday may not be ideal weather for golf with temperatures in the 50s, but that won’t deter golfers from being out that day.

“We’ll be open,” he said.

Food and beverages will be provided by Spokes on the Green soon after. Spokes hopes for a soft opening of the clubhouse operations by the middle of next month.

To purchase a season pass, reserve a tee time or to view the fee schedule, visit: www.watertown-ny.gov/golf.

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Watertown gives funding for Thompson Park marketing efforts

in Local News 249 views

More people are finding out about historic Thompson Park, thanks to a marketing campaign that has produced more than 500,000 hits in Google searches since the fall of 2021.

The marketing program is designed to attract more people to the city-owned park. On Thursday, the Watertown Local Development Corporation, also known as the Watertown Trust, was given a progress report how an $80,000 grant had helped to get the message out about the park.

With last year’s $40,000 in funding and this year’s funds, Watertown Trust officials think that the marketing program is getting the outcome that they thought it would.

“It definitely shows significant interest,” said Watertown Trust CEO Donald W. Rutherford.

The folks at Zoo New York put together the marketing program. The city has never devoted a marketing campaign to the park.

The first year of the marketing campaign focused on gathering data on how many clicks the park receives on social media. The park also received 363,995 views on Instagram and has 499 followers on Facebook and reached 64,000 people since November 2021.

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Jefferson, Lewis County locals walk for suicide awareness in Thompson Park Sunday

in Health/Local News/People 158 views

Oct. 9—WATERTOWN — At the very top of Thompson Park on Sunday, about 100 people walked in honor and remembrance of the friends, family, co-workers and strangers who have ended their own lives.

It was the 12th year that the Out of Darkness walk has been hosted in Watertown, led by the Greater Central New York Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Organized by that group’s area director, Karen J. Heisig, the walk is meant to memorialize those who have killed themselves, show support for those who have considered it and for the friends, family and colleagues of those who have died by suicide.

“We’re trying to raise, elevate the conversation, let people know that they aren’t alone, whether they’ve lost someone or they’re someone who struggles,” Ms. Heisig said. “We all have mental health challenges, and the more we talk about it, the more we can do about it.”

She said there are often misconceptions around suicide and its causes, and there are many people who would prefer not to discuss the topic whatsoever. But that can won’t help, she said.

“Talking about it does not cause suicide,” she said. “And not talking about it doesn’t prevent suicide. If we are talking about it, we open the door to someone to maybe reach out to a friend and discuss what they’re feeling.”

In the blustery, cool fall day, Ms. Heisig said the crowd wasn’t quite as large as they’ve seen in the past, but still represents a strong contingent of people from across Jefferson and Lewis Counties who want to bring mental health care into the limelight.

Speaking to the assembled crowd, Ms. Heisig said there’s hardly a person in the world who hasn’t been touched by suicide in some way, and there have been some encouraging steps forward in the national conversation about suicide lately.

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