When shovels first hit the ground in May of 2013, Lewisville’s Old Town Plaza was supposed to be open and ready to go sometime in April or May of this year, just in time for the city’s summer concerts and events.
However, spring came and the opening was pushed back to summer, then when the concerts were held elsewhere, the construction was delayed again, and with 2 weeks until the city’s biggest yearly event, Western Days, the new park still isn’t ready.
"There's a lot of frustration,” said City Representative James Kunke. “Some of the residents are frustrated, businesses, we're frustrated."
Kunke said the project has been plagued with delays since very early on when unforeseen issues were unearthed on the property across the street from city hall.
"This particular piece of property's been in continual use for about 170 years, and any time you dig into an area with that kind of history, you're going to find things you didn't know about,” he said.
Construction crews unearthed old pipes, a large water cistern and even an unknown gas line that they had to deal with very carefully.
Kunke said a portion of the underground layout for the area was only mapped by an old hand-drawing that proved to be missing some details.
The latest news from around North Texas.
The city also added a few improvements to the plans along the way like Wi-Fi for the entire park that required larger light poles and created some extra work.
Now with the Western Days festival scheduled for the end of September, Kunke said they are working fast to get at least the stage and lawn on half of the park open to help accommodate the crowd of 20,000 to 30,000 people the event generally draws.
The rest of the $5.2 million plaza is now on track to be open in October, pending any more issues.
Business owners on neighboring Main Street were pleased to hear an end may be near, as many expressed frustration at the lengthy project and lack of visible progress from their shops.
"At least the plaza area so we can get customers into the store,” said Leslie Lovell who is opening a Texas-themed shop soon that sits right on the edge of a closed off plaza.
Lovell, as well as Ronda Owens, both plan to open shops just in time for Western Days and have been hoping construction won’t hold them back.
Kunke said a path to the Main Street area will be ready in the park to make sure people check out the business district during the festival.
"We have been waiting for the construction to be done and we're excited and ready for it to be done,” said Owens. "It's going to look wonderful. It's going to be the Old Town atmosphere, but with a fresh new look."
Many did echo Owens that the completed project should be a nice addition to the area; they just hope it gets there soon.
"We wish it were done, but we know when it is done, people are really going to enjoy it,” said Kunke.