Some city water slides are closed, others are open

HILLSBORO, Kan. (KSNW) – The city of Hillsboro has closed its water slide at least for now.

“If we get the right inspection report, that we are expecting later this week, we should be back in operation,” says Larry Paine, Hillsboro City Manager. “When I saw it (new state law), I saw exactly what was happening. It was, well, until we get the inspection it’s going to be down. We’re not going to worry about somebody getting hurt or anything like that.”

The Hillsboro pool remains open. It’s just the slide that will have to stay closed until an official inspection from a certified inspector of amusement rides is completed.

Paine says the water slide in Hillsboro is sound. And he expects it to easily pass inspection. Paine is talking about regulations from the state and Senate Bill 86. The bill, which later became Senate Bill 70, which later came out of the House of Representatives, became law on July 1. It says water slides have to be inspected by someone qualified to certify amusement rides, as a licensed, professional engineer.

Others are not so sure how clear the law reads.

The Newton pool slide remains open.

“The word that we got originally was that these types of municipal pools would not be included in the legislation,” says Bob Myers, Newton City Manager. “So, it came as something of a surprise to find that some felt that it was. We researched that and we feel the law isn’t real clear on that.”

Myers points to a piece of the legislation that talks about water that “propels” someone down a water slide. He says most all municipal pools have a gentle flow of water that does not propel people down the slide.

What is clear in Hillsboro, is that the pool is open but the slide will stay closed a while longer.

“I’d much rather have to deal with a little inconvenience rather than have something be a problem, have somebody get hurt and then have to deal with the consequences of that,” says Paine.

A spokesperson for the Greater Wichita YMCA says the organization has not done official inspections by a certified amusement ride inspector. The YMCA slides remain open until certified inspectors look at all water features that may be included in the new law. Shelly Conrady says the Greater Wichita YMCA has staff examine the slides each day.

“Safety is always a top priority at the YMCA,” says Shelly Conrady, VP of Marketing & Communications for the Greater Wichita YMCA. “And we’re already working to implement the changes required by this legislation to any and all of the Y features that meet the amusement ride guideline.”

Conrady points to a last-minute legislative add, in a clean-up bill, that delays implementation of the new law, to next year. She says the legislative monitor sent out an amendment that was added on the Kansas House floor that essentially delays implementation of the law until next year.

Newton city leaders say they continue to research the law, and are not ruling out an inspection in the future.


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