HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - We're less than a month away from some major events scheduled at Big Spring Park. So will this prime piece of land be ready for all the events, after being closed for months?
Mother Nature played a little April Fools Day prank on the City of Huntsville.
“There’s some sod and landscaping that’s been held up because of the rain, so that’s pushed us off our timeline just a little bit," says John Hamilton, Huntsville's City Administrator.
Soggy conditions have caused the city to miss their projected deadline of April 1, 2017, for reopening all of the west side of Big Spring Park.
"So it hurts you not just the time period of the rain, but sometimes 2 or 3 days after that as well." says Hamilton.
The good news is, it won't be long until folks, and fowl, can waddle their way through the whole thing.
“There may be little places where they’re finishing some landscaping or things like that but pretty much the entire park will be accessible by next week," he says.
When all the fences come down, visitors will notice some changes.
“We brought in sidewalks closer to the water so there’s easier access into the water’s edge and being able to interact with the water," says Hamilton.
Near the pedestrian bridge, there are new stairs leading straight down to the pond.
“Over near Monroe Street, we actually have a bridge where you can cross the canal where you could not previously, so it’s easier to get from one side to another," he adds.
Old favorites like the gazebo have returned, but in a new location, closer to the water.
Some of the trees were also removed, to make room for big events like Panoply.
Beyond aesthetics, Hamilton says the real magic of the spruced up park is the new pond retaining wall.
"Had we not solved it, they would have become dangerous so you’re solving some safety issues and stuff that may not have been immediately apparent to the public," says Hamilton.
While at first glance, the swaths of Alabama red clay give the indication there's plenty of labor left to be done, Hamilton insists, they're just on the edge of the finish line.
“The way those large rolls of sod come in, big areas get covered up in really just a few hours," he says.
While city officials say they're confident the whole park will be open by next week, they're fearful if we get heavy rain, the deadline may have to be moved back yet again.
Regardless, they're certain, it will be ready for this year's Panoply, April 28-30.