You don't mess with a bride's wedding plans.
With that in mind, the City of Storm Lake is racing to get King's Pointe resort done in time for a local family's wedding plans to be held there - probably the first event to be welcomed into the lodge, the centerpiece of the $39 million lakefront development.
"We have a wedding rehearsal dinner scheduled for the night of the 17th and the wedding reception on the 18th, with a bunch of family members planning to come in to the hotel. We probably won't exactly be open to the public yet, but we really want to make an effort to accommodate that if we can," said Mike Wilson, manager of the King's Pointe project for the city. "We sure wouldn't want to disappoint a bride."
No opening date has yet been set, but a "soft opening" to the first individual guests could possibly occur the following week. A ribbon-cutting event is also in the planning stages for around that same time period, with details to be announced soon.
A somewhat gradual opening may be perfect for the project, Wilson said. "A soft opening will be good for the staff since they are all being trained, and this will allow them to get up and running."
Conventions and other events are turning to the new facility.
The first large gatherings to book in include a coin collectors convention and an Iowa Lions Club gathering, making use of the facilitiy's ballrooms and flexible meeting spaces that can host up to 300.
Meanwhile, construction on the Project Awaysis elements are progressing at a pace that has local officials thrilled.
On Wednesday, lodge workers completed the exterior doors and locks, allowing the hotel to be secure, and immediately started to remove the construction fence. In turn, that will allow the site landscaping to begin today. Numerous small trees and shrubs will surround the lodge and indoor waterpark, along with mulched areas and sod to be laid on the north side of the lodge.
Inside, the furnishings have been put in place in about 70 of the 100 guest rooms, with furniture expected to arrive for the rest on Monday, along with the furnishings for the banquet and conference spaces.
A lot of work being done in the restaurant area, with carpeting to go in over the weekend.
The kitchen staff is now doing some test cooking, under the watchful eye of chef Jerry McGuire. A wood-burning grill and demonstration kicthen are among the highlights of the Regatta Grille. The wait staff will begin to train this week. Front desk and computer training are also taking place.
There is still plenty to do - installing rails in the grille, wall treatments for the lobby with materials expected to arrive today, and some electrical work still to do, along with many small details. A final cleaning to prepare the lodge to host its first guests will begin this week.
Elsewhere in Awaysis, progress is being made on installing LakeTrail through the development, and paths around the playground and Great Lawn have been laid down.
Installation of the playground equipment is expected to start Monday, with some $300,000 in equipment being shipped in.
Work on the beach wall and steps is underway, and the architect for the beach lighthouse is expected to arrive within about 10 days to begin preparations for that construction, to get underway this fall with an opening in early spring.
Wilson admits that the development has been a grueling project, and relief is evident as the elements begin to near completion.
"We are hearing so many good comments, and that is really a good feeling," he said. "I spoke to a lady who has spent the last two weekends bringing her grandkids to the waterpark. She said, 'I gotta tell you that I was against all this when it started, but now I can see that it's really wonderful.'
"We are especially excited now to get the hotel and restaurant and indoor waterpark open so people can see it," Wilson said. "I don't think we are going to have too much trouble getting crowds in here."