Due to COVID-19, the city of Watertown will not open any public pools this summer. In fact, its most popular pool is likely to never reopen.
That has some in the city upset, wondering why this decision was made and why it needed to be made now, when it has "little to no" impact on a budget that didn't include pools this year.
What You Need To Know
- Not all city lawmakers are on board and want the city to reassess next year
- City pools will remain closed in 2020 due to COVID-19
- Thousands of people visit the pools each year
"I do not believe that there is any intention to close down a pool this year," Watertown City Councilor Jesse Roshia said at a meeting in January.
That was the feeling earlier this year, but admittedly a lot has changed since then. Last weekend, a majority of city of Watertown law makers reversed course, announcing the Alteri Pool at the Fairgrounds would be closed permanently. But not all council members are on board.
"To me, it's an asset. We should be protecting our assets in the city. The taxpayers paid for that," Watertown City Councilor Lisa Ruggiero said.
Some taxpayers are just as upset.
"In order to keep people in Watertown, or get them to move to Watertown, we need to have recreational activities," resident Debbie Dermady said.
Currently, the city has, sort of, three pools. There is the Thompson Park pool, which has been closed for years, but is being rebuilt this summer. There is the Flynn pool on the city's north side, and the pool at the Fairgrounds.
Of the two pools that have been usable in recent years, 18,000 people visited last year, but the Fairgrounds pool has been by far the most used.
"You have more families, more kids going to that one, than the one on the north side. I think they all are important because of the neighborhoods that they are in," Ruggiero said.
One option being looked at is setting up bus stops to bring people to the Flynn pool or Thompson Park, but that doesn't sit well with everyone.
Both Dermady and Ruggiero are asking the city council majority to pause on this issue, take a step back, and see where the city is budget-wise, come next May, when pools actually affect the budget.