Urbana's new outdoor aquatic center, scheduled to open early this month, won't be open to swimmers until Wednesday at the earliest. But a long-planned grand opening of the $9.1 million facility will go on at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, followed by staff-led walk-through tours until 4:30 p.m. The event will happen even if it is raining,
URBANA — Urbana's new outdoor aquatic center, scheduled to open early this month, won't be open to swimmers until Wednesday at the earliest.
But a long-planned grand opening of the $9.1 million facility will go on at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, followed by staff-led walk-through tours until 4:30 p.m. The event will happen even if it is raining, said Vicki Mayes, executive director of the Urbana Park District.
Unusually heavy spring rains have plagued construction at the pool, said Mayes, including a 2.73-inch downpour on Tuesday and Wednesday. June rainfall in Champaign-Urbana totals 6.18 inches, according to the Illinois State Water Survey, almost 2 inches above the monthly average.
The Urbana Family Aquatic Center is at 1401 N. Broadway Ave., U, the same site as two previous Crystal Lake Park pools, the original dating back to 1927.
Visitors today will be able to view the aquatic center and ask questions about features that include three separate pools — a deep water pool, a recreation pool and a competition pool. Season passes and punch cards for the pool also will be available.
But don't try jumping in to the water.
"We're still trying to catch up from the rains," said Mayes. "We have to waterproof the gutters that go around the (leisure) pool, because it needs dry time in between rains. That's going to be the hold-up.
"And we can't have our public health inspection until we have the gutters functioning. They all go hand-in-hand."
The other pools are ready for use, she said, although they still require certification from the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, and the entire pool needs an occupancy permit from the city of Urbana.
Sod also needs to be laid at the site, "although that's not going to hold us up from opening," Mayes said.
"I think it will be open before next Saturday (July 6)," she said. "But I just don't know."
The earliest the pool could open, she said, is Wednesday or Thursday. Friday likely is out because Thursday is a holiday and inspectors would not be available.
"We will open the very first day that we can, even if it's a surprise to everyone," she said.
"All of the water features are working. We've had them all on except for a blue slide, which had a piece that was missing and just came in (Thursday)," Mayes said. "The leisure playground works. The dump bucket works. The drop slide into the plunge pool works. The green slide works. The streambed works. They set basketball hopes and volleyball standards yesterday. All the water is high enough and circulating. It's just waiting for those gutters to get painted."
The aquatic center originally had been scheduled to open around Memorial Day or in early June.