Record rain in April, compounded by a continuing onslaught of water from the heavens over central Ohio, have wreaked havoc on everything from local crop planting and spring baseball and softball games to the renovation and opening of numerous area parks.

Record rain in April, compounded by a continuing onslaught of water from the heavens over central Ohio, have wreaked havoc on everything from local crop planting and spring baseball and softball games to the renovation and opening of numerous area parks.

According to the National Weather Service, the Columbus area received 7.14 inches of rain last month, beating previous rainfall records for April. Forecasters say chances are good for a rain-filled May.

Already, 4.3 inches of rain have fallen - 2 inches more than normal.

The wetness has upset farmers' plans, kept people indoors and kept local dogs and their owners out of Fairfield County's new public dog park in Violet Township.

Township officials and the volunteer group, Friends of the Violet Township Dog Park, have planned for more than two years for the construction of an 8.9-acre public dog park at the corner of Pickerington and Stemen roads. It will be the only one in the county.

The Friends also have raised money - approximately $42,000 - to match the township's share of the project in hopes of having the park open this spring.

Yet Mother Nature continues to bog down the project.

"Weather has pushed the opening date back," said Bill Yaple, Violet Township's director of operations. "The real problem is there was some reseeding of grass done in the last month. Because of the cool, wet weather we've had, the root structure just hasn't developed."

Rather than turning dogs and their owners loose on the park and risking uprooting the grass seed - something Yaple said would turn the park into a mud pit and likely lead to another reseeding effort - the township continues to restrict access to the area.

Yaple said a few other finishing touches, such as the installation of gating at the park's entrance, also are being completed.

"If we don't get the grass established now, we'll have to close the park at some point later to get it established," he said. "One of the hardest uses you can get on a piece of sod is people and animals being on it over and over again.

"There's areas were the grass is good, and there are areas where the grass is not good."

If the area can dry out and warmer temperatures prevail, Yaple said, he still foresees the dog park opening this summer.

"At best, we're looking at late June right now," he said. "That's if the weather turns to normal conditions very quickly. Forty-degree temperatures are not helping us."

The latest development isn't dissimilar to those over the past month, as local dog enthusiasts have waited to see their vision and volunteer work come to fruition.

However, Jan Anderson, a Friends of the Violet Township Dog Park member, said late last month her members understand the matter is beyond local leaders' control.

"The real key now is getting the grass seed down and a chance to germinate, in order for the township to decide on a proposed opening date," Anderson said on April 26. "The gate to the dog park will be locked in the interim.

"Needless to say, once an opening date is set, you all will be the first to know. And we will be sending out personal invitations to those really big donors who contributed hundreds and even thousands of dollars."