Wake Forest could really use some sunshine.
The Holding Park Aquatic Center was supposed to open over Memorial Day weekend, but uncooperative weather has delayed the opening indefinitely. Winter brought weeks of sub-freezing temperatures, followed by plenty of rain this spring.
Contractors working on the project say the site needs at least a week of no rain for the ground to dry enough for construction to continue.
The site on West Owen Avenue is on a plot of low-lying ground with limited drainage. It has been pumped several times to try to speed construction, the town said Wednesday.
The pump house, shaded seating areas, water slides and pool structures are finished, but work on the concrete pool deck and plaster finishes can’t begin until everything dries out.
“(Crews) won’t just be sitting there idly,” said Ruben Wall, parks and recreation director in Wake Forest. “It’s about 80 percent complete now.”
Wake Forest has had only one full week without rain in the past few months, according to Wall, who is keeping his fingers crossed for sunny skies.
“It rained Monday night, and Tuesday it was flooded again,” Wall said of the site.
Crews will build drainage systems in the pool deck to handle runoff from a nearby hill and the roof of the pump house, but until the deck can be poured, the site will continue to flood.
“We’re watching the weather like meteorologists now,” Wall said.
The aquatic center isn’t the only thing affected by inclement weather. The town’s parks and recreation department has had to reschedule 194 athletic games since April.
“One day of games for us is not just one game,” Wall said. “It can be 10 or even 20 games in one day. We’re having to extend our seasons, push back tournaments. We’re gonna have to do what we have to do.”
On Tuesday, only one of the town’s dozen baseball and softball fields was in good enough shape for games. The others were flooded from rain on Monday.
The site of the Joyner Park Center, which is under construction, received more than 2 inches of rain Tuesday night, according to the town. Unlike the aquatic center, the Joyner construction just got started, so it’s not as much of a problem, Wall said.
The Joyner Park Center will eventually be home to a new community center, complete with gyms, a dance studio, a kitchen, conference centers and a new office for the parks and rec department. Outside, there will be a new playground and an amphitheater.
Wall said he was disappointed by the delays, but he’s looking on the bright side. “We’re gonna have a great facility,” he said. “We’re looking forward to a great celebration and a big grand opening ceremony when (the aquatic center) is finally finished — and it is going to happen.”
Until then, everyone can find relief from the summer heat at the new sprayground at Taylor Street Park — as long as the rain holds off.