Monday, March 14, 2016

The Conundrum of Not Wanting to Say No

      It was a great thing to promise when running as fond memories of the Thompson Park pool trumped the price tag or the actual need.  Now Council faces a large price tag for what they promised the first of the year.
      Last year, I tried to get a decision on the pool and everyone wanted to talk fondly of rebuilding it while simultaneously talking about disbelief and denial over the cost. The pool may be serviceable but staffing and putting up with the ratty bath house are as hostile to its operation as the mechanicals.
       Let's see if tonight's Council meeting on the topic prompts a decision. Either move ahead with the multi million dollar replacement or decomission the pool and remove it. Pulling either trigger is unlikely to happen.
      Thompson Park is an interesting asset and there is a Friends of the Thompson Park group wanting to create an endowment for improvments. There was even wistful talk of the old wading pool removed decades ago.
Thompson Park Pool
      There are so many recreational options in today's world,  the park as envisioned one hundred years ago is a massive and expensive amenity most people seldom visit.
       Add to that the two major tenants in the park (Zoo and Golf Course) are openly said to be fiscally wobbly.
         What's needed more than a third pool are rest rooms,  lighting,  trail marking, etc.  But you can't have it all right away, and the unwillingness to cut loose the pool will stymie overall efforts at Thompson Park.
          The Mayor is right when he says, as he did last week, that two pools are enough, but so far translating that to policy has been something not done by fiscal "hawks" who continue to wnat to have a pool and spend less or cut the Fire Department while saying you don't want to.        


http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/news03/city-council-to-discuss-thompson-park-pool-20160314

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fiscally wobbly? As compared to what Jeff? Minor League hockey or baseball? Jeez Louise...

Anonymous said...

This is another gift from Albany.
If this was a private sector pool, it could be fixed or rebuilt for $100k-$200k, but since it falls under "prevailing at five times the wages" laws, the price tag is a couple million.

Thompson Park is for people to enjoy, not dog parks and not learning centers. This is one thing that it makes sense to spend the money on. If you cut the bloated fire department, you could afford it.

Anonymous said...

If the people want a third pool, do your job and give it to them.

As for Mayor Butler... We're all sick of seeing you waffle and wabble on every issue. You pledged to replace the pool, now follow through. That's what you were elected to do. Make a promise and stick with it. Otherwise, you'll be a one-term lame duck like your father.

Anonymous said...

How about we cut all departments by 10%. This was done before, why just fire?

Anonymous said...

I agree what pool gets the most use? Soon North Junior school will be closed will we keep it open? Is the pol on school land?

Anonymous said...

There is a pool for the north side,and the west side,but how about the east side,where most of the people live? Not everyone has a car,and some of the poor kids walk up to the Park to use the pool.Here we are willing to spend over ten million dollars on the damn ice arena for a one year hockey team,but nothing for the kids that don't contribute dollars to the budget.Sad..

Anonymous said...

What's worse was letting the pool get into such a state of disrepair that the price tag is now so high. Great work.

Anonymous said...

Awfully easy to play armchair quarterback, eh Jeff?

If the need was so great for new/more restrooms, lighting and trail marking, why didn't you make them an agenda while in office?

Anonymous said...

We don't need a wading pool because we have air conditioners? Are you serious? So people should stay indoors and enjoy their manufactured cool air? What a great message. And you're surprised you lost.

Jeff Graham said...

226...Not armchair bud. I was in the trenches and argued for all those things, but the majority opposed it as did staff. Now you have a Council committed to replacing the pool and even installing lighting. That's progress and that's why we have elections.
Personally, I oppose the pool but certainly support the other amenities.

Anonymous said...

I don't recall you bringing any those upvrageds up during your last campaign Jeff. When exactly did you?

Anonymous said...

Would like to see it saved, BUT i thing we should try and get the state to pay for the bulk of the project. Your not going to shove another property tax increase down our throats like our city leaders did for the over priced ice arena project .

Anonymous said...

I am sure the manager is pushing it since the Parks Queen gets what ever she wants.
A better use of the money would be to search for a new manager. I can not think of one thing she has accomplished since she has been here except farming out her work to outside people costing us taxpayers more money. Be interesting to see this years budget.

Jeff Graham said...

453 On numerous occasions over time particularly during budget discussions. We did get an appropriation for rest rooms last year at my suggestion, and I was pleased to encourage the monument be built where it is as the plan includes new lighting.
Trail work was done in recent years, although I concede better marking is in order.
Actually, I led the move to get the signage at each entrance some years back. Hard to imagine but there used to be none.
I had worked to get funding to help with the rebuild of the Children's Playground, which also was included in last year's budget.
I, along with the current Mayor, also supported a revived bandstand, and I drafted the resolution that codified the relationship with the new Friends of the Park group.
Did what I could bud. What was your name again ?

Anonymous said...

How about cutting from the top first? City manager, city manager assistant, all department heads. Time for these people to start living in the the real world. The majority of city workers are about to become minimum wage earners...

Anonymous said...

Bend over, boys, Watertown is getting less affordable again.

Anonymous said...

6:12, I agree 100%, assistants in every department gone, assistant to CM, assistant clerk, assistant fire chief, police captain, assistant to parks and rec that was a new position slid in a year or so ago, etc. Hire a city attorney and axe Sly and Burrows, half million savings right there, pay attorney 6 figures and still be way ahead. A lot has been slid into management on the backs of the workers.

Anonymous said...

Right you are 612, Where was it again where employees worked for aCity and got an increase??? No one wants a tax increase, but things need to be paid for.

Anonymous said...

The pool on the Northside is on City land along with the athletic fields. The City turned the playground area over to the school so they could put a playground in for the school. The Park Pool was closed by the new Superintendent as she didn't want to put repairs into the building and other things that needed fixing. Although the pool needs rehabbing it wasn't closed by the State. The Park Pool was always one of the busiest when I worked there. Interesting enough there has been 3 studies and reports and a preliminary drawing of a new pool done since the last rehab done in the early 70's.

Anonymous said...

The COW continues to use our tax money poorly. The monument in the park was not something the youth of COW will use. A pool, improved recreation fields, outside ice rinks are something that lends substance to neighborhoods. Big offices and additional management positions do not. The exodus out of the COW will continue and those that remain will suffer. What was that figure 300-400 graduates from WHS ten years ago now 100+, IHC 100+ ten years ago now 60-70. Time to start looking at real estate. Maybe next to the CM or WHS superintendent.

Anonymous said...

What??? Next thing you guys are going to want to cut the city typist making $45k per year!

Anonymous said...

It's explanations like the one you gave at 601, that we should have heard more of last year Jeff. Thank you for your response.