Record-setting rain delays opening of U.C. splashpad
Universal City had hoped to offer children a place to frolic in the water under the late summer sun by now. But Mother Nature has intervened, as the wettest September on record has washed out the completion and opening of the city’s water play area adjacent to the Universal City Public Library.
Continual rains since Labor Day have pushed back the original late September opening of the 4,000 square-foot blue-and-green-painted pad that groups 16 water features into age-grouped play levels.
Randy Luensmann, Universal City public works director, said work crews for Vortex Aquatic Structures managed to pour concrete last week during a brief break in the weather. He said Vortex has overtime crews working as often as they can in order to advance the project.
“They are out there putting up some of the equipment right now,” Luensmann said on Friday. “We’ll test everything on Monday and have training on everything on Wednesday, provided it’s not raining on us then.”
The splashpad surface still needs to be painted and power needs to be strung to the area.
“A lot of the site work still needs to be done,” Luensmann said. “All the flatwork, the sidewalks and everything, still need to be completed.
“The target to open was originally in September, but obviously we’re past that now,” he added.
Once it opens, the splashpad will feature three levels of play in its Toddler Bay, Teen Bay and Family Bay.
The Toddler Bay features more gentle ground sprays and low-flow water features such as a frog, turtle and butterfly that spray water in various directions. There are also several jets that spray water directly from the ground, creating a fun run-through area.
The Teen Bay is home to the SuperWave, Luna Cannons and Helio ball. SuperWave sits in the corner and will drench those below, with its three 15-gallon reservoirs that rotate on a spinning wheel, dousing visitors more often than a one-time water dump would.
The highlight of the Family Bay is a 23-foot-tall spider that features different water features for pad visitors to choose from.
There will be timed use buttons throughout the array, allowing certain attractions to remain dormant when not in use. Luensmann said all the site water will run through a full recirculation system to ensure water cleansing and water conservation.
“We’ll have a short opening in October, before reopening in March, that will be our target,” Luensmann said.
The project originally was projected to be about $520,000, paid out of the city’s current budget.