WATERTOWN — Residents will have to wait until next summer to go for a swim in the Alteri pool at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.
Councilwoman Lisa A. Ruggiero had hoped the Steve D. Alteri Municipal Swimming Pool would reopen after a year’s absence caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic but found out at Monday night’s City Council meeting that some of the work cannot get done.
“I just think we should see how soon we can do it,” she said.
But on Monday night, they learned getting repairs done for the summer season could not be done in time to open it. They plan to reopen it next summer now, City Manager Kenneth A. Mix said.
He told council members that the company that will do the work, Sundance Leisure, Watertown, needed to know back in January that the city wanted to get the pool open this season. Because of that, Sundance could not start on it May or June, he said.
“I think the big issue is the lead times,” he said.
Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith pointed out there’s no money in the budget to pay for lifeguards, so that issue would have to been addressed during budget deliberations.
He just doesn’t think it was possible to get it open for summer.
“You’re just setting up staff for failure,” he said. “It’s unreasonable.”
City Parks and Recreation Superintendent Scott M. Weller said finding enough lifeguards to work that pool and the new $3.1 million pool in Thompson Park, which opened last summer, also would be difficult.
In March, council members decided to open only the Thompson Park pool 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.
The issue was brought up again because new Councilman Leonard G. Spaziani recently joined the council and he would like to see the Alteri pool to open this summer if it was feasible to do so.
The city needs to pay $8,100 for a new chemical control, about $37,000 to install the filter from the Flynn pool to the Alteri pool and complete some minor plumbing and electrical work.
During budget deliberations last year, council members, by a 4-1 vote, decided to demolish the Alteri pool, angering some residents in the neighborhood of the fairgrounds.
In the past, council members have been concerned about the cost of staffing city pools, which is estimated at about $85,000 per season.