New law prompts closure of Roeland Park water slide until aquatic center gets inspection and permit

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ROELAND PARK, Kan. -- A new state law in Kansas means new regulations for municipal pools with water slides. The Kansas Amusement Ride Act considers pool slides 15-feet tall and above as amusement rides.

The slide at the Roeland Park Aquatic Center will remain closed until an inspector can come out and all the paperwork is finished to get the proper permits.

“I go down fast, and it shoots water behind you to go even faster!” said 6-year-old Ariana Hassler.

“I like the diving boards, and the really slippery slide,” added 9-year-old Cohen Woller.

“When you go down it goes fast and you get to go under water,” said 6-year-old Sophie Meek.

It’s a summer-time staple at many pools for kids when school's out: Going down water slides.

But the Kansas Amusement Ride Act states that no amusement ride shall be operated in Kansas unless a valid permit has been issued by the Kansas Department of Labor and the owner of the ride has registered with the Kansas Department of Labor as an amusement ride owner.

“We have decided to go ahead and close our slide down, we do have two slides here, one slide is over 15-feet, and by the standards of the law, that is one that falls under as an amusement ride,” said Michelle Alexander, the 50 Plus And Aquatics Manager For Johnson County Parks and Recreation.

In order to obtain a permit to operate an amusement ride in Kansas, the owner must first submit an application packet with the Kansas Department Of Labor. Once an application has been approved, a permit will be issued for the amusement ride.

“The Kansas Department of Labor did state it was in violation of the law if you do continue to stay open and are not permitted after July 1st,” Alexander added.

The law was passed in response to the tragedy at Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City, Kansas, in August of 2016 when 10-year-old Caleb Schwab was killed going down Verruckt -- what was the largest water slide in the world.

“I can`t even imagine what that would have been like,” said Jeni Hill, a parent.

Parents say they understand why the new law is in effect.

“I think it`s a good idea... safety is always the best route,” Hill said.

But say it's hard to compare the slides at these neighborhood pools to a slide like Verruckt.

“That`s a little extreme, but they have their reasons I guess,” addedHill.

The Roeland Park Aquatic Center slide will remain closed until they have the proper permit and have it inspected. They are hoping it's back up and running by next week.

“It`s unfortunate, you know, the kids love that slide,” said Alexander.

A public hearing has been set on new permanent rules and regulations under the new law at 9 a.m. on September 7th at the Kansas Department Of Labor in Topeka.

For more information, click on this link.



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