URBANA — It's just not right that the opening of the new public swimming pool in Urbana is being delayed because it's been too wet.
But that's the dilemma faced by the Urbana Park District as it again pushes back the opening of its Crystal Lake Park aquatic center, originally planned for early June, then June 15 and now June 20 or later.
"We're not going to make the 15th," said Vicki Mayes, the park district's executive director. "We're thinking now it will be the 20th or later that week."
In the meantime, the Urbana and Champaign park districts have worked out a reciprocal agreement for pool pass holders.
Those who have purchased Urbana pool passes can use Champaign's Sholem Pool at a reduced daily admission price of $4 (normal is $6). Sholem Pool pass holders will be able to use the Urbana pool — once it opens — at the same $4 daily rate.
Season passes for the Urbana pool will be on sale at a reduced price through Friday. For now those passes also can be used at Urbana's Indoor Aquatic Center.
More information on season passes and pricing is available at http://www.urbanaparks.org/outdoor pool.
Officials are standing by a Saturday, June 29, opening celebration for the $9.1 million aquatic center, located on the same site as the old Crystal Lake Pool in north Urbana, she said. That also is the date of a home swim meet for the park district's Nadiators swim team.
Officials also are planning a number of fundraising raffles — including the first ride down the plunge pool slide and the first scaling of the pool's unique climbing wall — to benefit the park district's scholarship fund, said Mayes.
Ironically, all the rain since Jan. 1 — nearly 18 inches has fallen in that time versus the 15.6-inch average — is to blame for the construction delay.
"It's been a pretty darn rainy period of time since January. It's been rough," said Mayes. "They're painting the bottom of the pool now. They have to put waterproof paint on the bottoms of the pools. That has to be done in a 24-hour dry period and it takes three coats of paint per pool."
There have been few dry periods in the last two weeks, however.
Through Wednesday, Champaign-Urbana had received at least a trace of rain on 11 of the previous 15 days, according to the Illinois State Water Survey.
Workers, however, had completed painting two of the three pools at the aquatic center, Mayes said.
"They have finished with plunge pool and competition pool and just have leisure pool to do, and I expect the first coat of paint at the leisure pool will go today," she said Wednesday.
The delays have been frustrating, Mayes acknowledged.
"Everything is moving rally fast except for this painting stuff, which is just maddening," she said. "It's come along pretty well. Once the painting gets done, it then has to cure for eight days. Then they can start putting water in and doing the water testing."
Landscaping also must be completed, Mayes said.
"There won't be a blade of grass there until a couple of days before it opens. We'll put sod down on almost all the areas," she said.
Mayes pledged to open the Crystal Lake pool "the very first day we can.
"I keep reminding people that this facility is going to last for decades so that while we're not in there right now, it's going to be around for a long, long time," she said.