URBANA — The opening of the Crystal Lake Park aquatic center, originally scheduled for June 1, has been pushed back to the week of June 20.
April's wet weather is to blame, said Corky Emberson, the Urbana Park District's superintendent of recreation.
"The pool people have been working weekends for about six weeks now. They're doing everything they can," Emberson said. "It's just that the weather is not cooperating. June 20th is what we're looking at. There's a possibility it could be sooner, but June 20th is what they're showing. We feel confident in that date."
In the meantime, people who purchased passes for the outdoor pool can use them at Urbana's indoor aquatic center, 102 E. Michigan Ave., from June 1 until the outdoor pool's opening day.
And discounted season passes to the outdoor pool will be available through June 7. The discount saves families up to $15 on the cost of a pass.
There's been more than 2 inches of rain in the last two weeks, and more than 7 inches fell on Champaign-Urbana in April.
"We have a construction meeting every other Thursday and we got the bad news. We actually didn't lose as much ground as we had thought with the four days of rain in those two weeks," Emberson said. "It rained four days, but we only lost two days of construction. That tells you that they're able to gain days if they get good days to work. That's why we're optimistic that we may possibly be open before the 20th."
Almost all of the concrete for the pools at the aquatic center has been poured, and construction of the tower for the three water slides at the center will begin next week. An in-water playground structure is on site, painting and tile work at the pools will start soon, and work on the bathhouse is nearing completion, Emberson said.
At times there are as many as 50 construction workers on the site.
"We're at a point where there are plenty of things that can be done. This morning they were pouring concrete," Emberson said Friday afternoon. "The site does dry quickly. The problem is when its raining like it was (Thursday) afternoon when obviously they can't be out there working."
He said a project punch list — a review of tasks completed and still to finish — is scheduled for June 10. After that, "we may do some open houses for people to walk through the site, even if it isn't in use yet.
"We want people to see it even if the water's not actually balanced and ready to go yet. It really is going to be an awesome site. People are going to be pleased. It will be well worth the wait."
An official opening celebration for the $9.1 million aquatic center, on the same site as the old Crystal Lake Pool in north Urbana, is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 29.