Rec center, pool in line for 2023 openings
Published 6:14 pm Tuesday, October 11, 2022
The city’s Parks and Recreation department is winding down its work on a new recreation facility while initiating work at other locations.
Department Director Mark Furlo told City Council at its Oct. 5 meeting that renovation work to prepare the Bennett’s Creek Recreation Center for opening is in its latter stages, with much of the exterior finished and added touches being put on the interior spaces. It is expected to open sometime in winter 2023.
“That project is really starting to come together,” Furlo said.
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The Cypress Park pool that was expected to be ready this past summer will not open until around Memorial Day next year, he said, due to construction-related issues. Furlo said initially, the contractor for the project put the wrong type of concrete on the side walls of the pool. The department had to go back to the project engineers to ensure that the different concrete would still hold the water in the pool, and a new product had to be developed to put on the pool to ensure that it was water-right.
Further, there were issues with trying to save some of the concrete from the previous pool there to use in the new pool, and because it wasn’t aligning properly, the pool wouldn’t drain.
“The one thing you don’t want with a pool is a wet deck,” Furlo said. “You want it to be able to drain. A wet deck around the pool becomes very dangerous for the kids to slip and fall.”
He said they are expanding the locker rooms, which was necessary because the size of the pool is larger.
It expects to get the rest of the concrete down for the pool soon, he said. Otherwise, if that doesn’t happen before temperatures start falling below 45 degrees, the contractor will have to wait until warmer weather returns.
Another project in the early stages is a new Dismal Swamp Park, which will go on land the department recently acquired and is adjacent to land the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge now has in its possession. He showed council some conceptual models of how the park could look.
“The thought was that they would bring groups in for educational programs for the swamp to do SOL (Standards of Learning) stuff,” Furlo said, “and we may use the facility, too, to do some programs with our outdoor recreation program. Then the kids could come over to the playground, use the playground, eat lunch under the picnic shelter. The playground would be open to the public during the week for general use.
“We don’t really have any playgrounds in that area,” Furlo said, “so it helps fill a void that we have in the city right now as far as playgrounds and picnic shelters.”
The department also is in the process of replacing three city playgrounds. Earlier this year, it finished the Lakeside tot lot, while Pughsville Park is getting underway this month. After that, it has plans to replace the playground at Planters Park.
Furlo also highlighted upcoming events for the department, and noted that the department last month was re-accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Parks and Recreation Agencies for an additional five years. He said it is one of three city Parks and Recreation departments in Hampton Roads — Norfolk and Virginia Beach are the others — who have full accreditation.
For more information about upcoming Parks and Recreation Department events, go to https://www.suffolkva.us/266/Parks-Recreation.
People can also follow Suffolk Parks and Recreation on Facebook and Instagram @suffolkparksandrec.