New Thompson Park pool scheduled to open Aug. 14

The new pool at Thompson Park in Watertown is filled with water on Tuesday. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — Grab your bathing suits and sun tan lotion.

The new $3.1 million Thompson Park pool and bathhouse is expected to open during the week of Aug. 10.

The construction is wrapping up now, City Manager Kenneth A. Mix said Tuesday.

The state Department of Health was at the pool inspecting it earlier Tuesday and will be back the end of next week for a final check.

The city also is working on hiring 11 lifeguards, so that the pool can make its debut before the end of the summer pool season.

“We’re making sure it’s all operational after construction,” Mr. Mix said.

With this summer’s dry and humid weather, Councilwoman Lisa A. Ruggiero said it couldn’t come at a better time. She hopes, if the hot weather persists, that the new pool can remain open past Labor Day.

“It looks great,” she said. “It’s nice to see.”

She said some people are still complaining about the pool’s $3.1 million price tag, but she thinks that they may not realize that the cost also includes the new bathhouse, which will have year-round restrooms.

For all of these years, the city-owned historic park has not offered restroom facilities during the winter months, when people still enjoy the park by going cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and hiking.

“It’s a nice feature,” she said.

At the July 6 meeting, the City Council on Monday unanimously agreed to open the new pool and bathhouse for about three weeks in August. The decision was a reversal from what the majority of council said back during budget deliberations last spring.

With the backdrop of the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, council members decided during budget deliberations that the Thompson Park pool and the city’s two others, at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds and the North Elementary School, would remain closed all summer.

Some residents lobbied council members to open one of the pools this summer for children who couldn’t attend school and because the city’s summer recreation program could not open due to the pandemic.

The fairgrounds pool will never reopen, however.

The Thompson Park pool was originally scheduled to be completed in July. But a full month of construction time was lost amid the coronavirus pandemic after a governor’s executive order halted all nonessential construction.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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