By TESA GLASS
MT. VERNON —
Work is progressing quickly on the Aquatic Zoo, in spite of the snow slowing things down.
“With the snow, there’s not a lot going on right at the moment, but we’re in the process in the next week or so to place some clean fill rock over the top of the existing piping we have in place,” said Parks and Facilities Director George Bryant. “Once they do that, they will start to place rebar over that and we’ll be looking at pouring concrete in the lap pool for the floor.”
Construction on the Aquatic Zoo started in October on South 34th Street south of Veterans Memorial Drive. Opening at this point is slated for July 4.
“We’re going to look at (if we can move the opening date up), but when the project was bid, the date was set at July 4 and that’s the date we are working to try to keep. Anything earlier than that will just be something we’ll try to make attempts to do as we go along,” Bryant said. “We had excellent weather right up until we got hit with the snow storm. They are still going to be trying to work over there each day as much as they can.”
So far, the bathhouse foundation is in place along with piping; the lap pool has been dug and piping is in place; the lazy river is dug and piping is in place; and the leisure pool has been dug and piping is in place, Bryant reported.
Last week, permits were received by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
“They’ve approved the plans, the piping and design,” Bryant said. “Since we got the permit last week, the next step was to have the first inspection of the piping, and that was done (Thursday). Everything was approved with what we have in place at this time.”
The next step in construction is to pour the clean rock and place rebar on the bathhouse. After the floors are poured, some of the pool walls will be poured.
“Walls like that on the lazy river will be done with shock-crete,” Bryant said. “That’s where they shoot the concrete on the walls because of all the bends.”
Work is now underway to plan for a swim lesson scholarship program.
“We’re hoping to have something in place in the next couple of months,” Bryant said, adding it’s the goal of the Parks and Recreation Department that every child in the area learn how to swim.
“I think that needs to be a high priority here in our community so the children can have this skill in place,” Bryant said. “It’s a life-saving skill.”