Gainesville Daily Register

Local News

July 9, 2013

Pool opening delayed until July 20

— By GREG RUSSELL

Register Staff Writer

Construction lags have prompted city officials to declare a tentative opening day of Saturday, July 20, for the updated Leonard Park Pool.

City Manager Barry Sullivan said an earlier opening date of July 13 won’t be possible due to the same factor that prevented the originally scheduled early June opening: difficulty in marshaling supplies for the new water park.

Any further delay that spills the opening weekend into August isn’t expected, but Sullivan said it’s possible.

“It’s a delay in getting certain materials, especially foreign materials,” he said Monday. “With those pieces and parts, it’s been difficult to get those in and we’re trying to now get it wrapped up at the end.”

The pool’s regular season runs June through August. As he had in late June, Sullivan said a delayed opening for the new water park is regrettable but explained by the project’s main advantage: that it was fully funded by surplus sales tax revenue not available until only months prior to the pool season.

“We wanted to get it open this year but when we started, we only started after we had the cash for it,” he said Monday. “The original start wasn’t the ideal timing to start, as far as the ideal opening for the summer. But having the cash was ideal — and so was not having to put 70 grand into our old pool just to make it operational for one season.”

Sullivan said in late June that the pool will have a final cost of $2.4 million. The revision of Leonard Park’s pool will result in a full-scale water park that has been in development for more than two years, following a decline of the park’s old pool, and would have begun before the summer pool season of 2012.

“We’re getting a new pool for the community, it’ll be open this season and I think they’ll be impressed,” he said in late June.

The new water park will feature multiple slides, a diving board and a rock climbing wall, plus the availability of “human hamster” rides. Once open, the new pool facility will offer swimming lessons, private party rentals, evening aerobic classes and a movie night once per month. Such programs were also available at the former Leonard Park pool and now they’re being relaunched into a seven-day-per-week schedule during the summer season.

Sullivan explained in late June that the pool had originally been budgeted at $1.6 million during its development phase before more surplus funds became available.

“During that time, we started looking at different options,” he said. “And because sales tax kept coming in at a higher and higher rate, we were able to get the products that we think will make it a fantastic addition to Leonard Park.”

 

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