BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The contractor failed to get the Martin Luther King Park splash pad done in time for summer. And now, he has fallen short on plans to get an ice rink ready this winter.
It has been eight years since the splash pad at Martin Luther King Park worked as advertised. After a generation of neglect, the pool opened with much fanfare, back in June of 2004.
Then Mayor Anthony Masiello declared, "No longer will Martin Luther King Pool be a symbol of despair, but now is a symbol of hope."
But about a month later, the water feature was down and neighborhood kids could only climb on the fountains because they weren't working.
Attempts to repair the fountains eventually gave way to a decision to install a new high-tech filtration system, which is now in place but remains untested. Just a few weeks ago, the contractor for the project told News 4 the pool is finished.
Man O' Trees Owner David Pfeiffer stated, "It is done. They won't even let me take the fences down there, right now, because they are telling us they've got to keep up for liability purposes."
Public Works Commissioner Steve Stepniak countered, "At this point, it is not 100 percent complete. Our 'punch list' has not been completed yet; we are doing our evaluation. Until that is done and we sign off and accept the full project, then it would be complete."
And sources tell News 4 it is the high-tech filtration system that is one of the holdups for this season.
As delays continued to push back the opening of the splash pad - past the Juneteenth celebration, the Fourth of July, and finally the end of the summer - officials then said the pool might be done by fall so the splash pad could be used for ice skating this winter.
But now we are told that is not going to happen because the filtration system has to be put through a final test, and that can't happen until next spring. The surface of the pool also has to be covered with a non-slip compound and that can't be applied until next spring.
A spokesman for Mayor Byron Brown told News 4 city officials are not ready to throw in the towel. They are planning on operational meeting on Wednesday to go over their options.
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