LOVE Park opening delayed

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A rendering of that the new LOVE Park will look like. Originally projected to open this spring, the project has been pushed back to September.

Completion of the LOVE Park renovation, originally projected for this spring, has been pushed back to September, and the project likely will end up over budget, says city Parks and Recreation Department Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell.

Ott Lovell said a series of surprises, including the existence of an extensive ventilation system and a city water main just below the surface, accounted for the delays. The project also required more fill than anticipated, Ott Lovell said.

Originally projected to cost $16.5 million, Ott Lovell said, the renovation likely will cost closer to $20 million. She said there was no way to anticipate the problems because plans for the final design of the park, built in the mid-1960s, had been lost.

That said, all construction obstacles that had delayed the project now are out of the way, and contractors expect no further complications, Ott Lovell maintained.

The flying-saucer-shaped city Welcome Center currently in the park, slated to become a restaurant, will open at some point after the official park opening in September, Ott Lovell said. She said that no request for proposal -- or bids request -- had been issued yet for a restaurant operator, and that city officials had always expected the restaurant would open sometime after the park had been completed.

Even after the park opens to the public, Ott Lovell said, some details will remain. Landscaping projects such as tree planting, will have to wait until November, the optimal time for transplanting.

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