DES MOINES, Iowa -- It seems as if spring has been at odds with much of Iowa.
"April showers and May showers so hopefully June has lots of flowers, lots of sunshine and people can get out and be outside," said Jen Fletcher, spokesperson for Des Moines Parks and Recreation.
The department hopes Mother Nature starts playing nice as the Teachout Aquatic Center is scheduled to open this weekend. "We are just as disappointed the weather hasn’t been cooperative because our team has worked so hard to get everything ready," Fletcher said. She added, "We’ve got contractors working all over the city at MacRae Park and Gray's Lake, and obviously if they can get out and work, they will, but if they can’t then they won’t."
Poor conditions have already paused major construction projects. "One of the biggest challenges has been there haven’t been enough dry days in between days for our contractors to make progress on work," said Des Moines City Engineer Steve Naber. Since March construction on the Locust Street Bridge has been too dangerous, Naber said, "With the elevated river levels, work on the Locust Street Bridge has stopped, so we are hoping that in the coming weeks the river drops enough that our contractors can get back in the river and resume work on that bridge."
As more rain remains in the forecast the rest of the week, so too will frustration. "It certainly is frustrating to a standpoint from our contractors but also to our residents. We want to get our projects done as quickly as possible to minimize disruption to our residents and businesses," said Naber.
Last week's storms that ruined the roofs of Hoover High School and Meredith Middle School also wrecked the Northwest Family Aquatic Center. It was scheduled to open this weekend, but recent storm damage pushed the start of summer fun here back to June 1. Fletcher said, "It’s kind of like Christmas morning when your mom says you can’t open your present until after dinner. You’ve got to wait for the weather to break so people can get out and enjoy everything you’ve worked so hard to get ready."
Naber says it is too early to tell if the original summer of 2020 completion date for the Locust Street Bridge is in jeopardy. To stay up to date on any parks and trail closures, follow the Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department's Facebook page.