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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