Pool demo moves forward

The Steve D. Alteri Municipal Swimming Pool at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds in Watertown. Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — Despite a decision to keep it closed this summer, city residents might be able to head over to the fairgrounds and take a dip in the Alteri pool this year.

Councilwoman Lisa A. Ruggiero plans to introduce a resolution Monday night that would rescind a resolution about opening the pool at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds during the city’s summer pool program.

Councilwoman Ruggiero said she has enough votes to support opening the Steve D. Alteri Municipal Swimming Pool after talking to Councilman Ryan Henry-Wilkinson and new Councilman Leonard G. Spaziani.

“I just think it’s important that it gets open,” Councilwoman Ruggiero said Thursday night.

In March, council members decided to open only the new $3.1 million Thompson Park pool, which opened last summer, after hearing the William J. Flynn Municipal Swimming Pool at North Street Elementary needed considerable repairs that would cost at least $300,000.

At that meeting, council members informally agreed not to open the Alteri pool this summer so data on pool attendance numbers could be collected to see if it would warrant the city having two pools opened.

Previously, council members wanted to open the Flynn and Thompson Park pools and close and demolish the pool at the fairgrounds before the city’s Engineering Department learned the Flynn pool had major leaks.

But the council now has a different makeup than when former Councilman Jesse C.P. Roshia joined Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith, Councilwoman Sarah V. Compo and Councilman Henry-Wilkinson in supporting that plan.

The situation changed when Mr. Roshia resigned from the council in January, with Councilman Spaziani replacing him this month. The new councilman supports reopening the Alteri pool at the fairgrounds, he said.

Councilman Spaziani said earlier this week that he told the council he would want to open the Alteri pool if he was appointed to the vacant council seat.

“Definitely, I support opening it,” he said.

Councilwoman Ruggiero said she’s talked to Councilman Henry-Wilkinson, who told her he wants the Alteri pool to be open this summer. He could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.

The Alteri pool needs about $50,000 in repairs, some of which can be put off until next year, she said. If the pool opens, the city needs to immediately order a chemical control, which will cost $8,100, in the hopes it would be delivered and installed this summer.

If not, she hopes the pool can be used with that old chemical controller until the new one arrives. Some electrical repairs also must be completed.

About 1,000 more people have traditionally used the Alteri pool each summer than the others. She also pointed out that residents living in the Sand Flats neighborhood near the fairgrounds, along with people in other areas of the city, were upset when it was announced earlier this year it would not open.

During budget deliberations last year, council members, by a 4-1 vote, decided to demolish the Alteri pool, angering some neighbors of the flats neighborhood.

In the past, council members have been concerned about the cost of staffing city pools, which is estimated at about $85,000 per season.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Department has already started advertising to find lifeguards to hire for the Thompson Park pool.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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