New law causes water slide closures, Topeka center stands firm

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A new law is forcing some water parks across Kansas to shut down their water slides.

However, Topeka’s Midwest Health Aquatic Center is making sure it doesn’t happen to them.

The center is home to Shawnee County’s largest water slide, standing 35-feet tall.

While water parks are meant to be fun, they can be dangerous.

In August, 2016, 10-year-old Caleb Schwab died on Schlitterbahn Kansas City Water Park’s Verrückt water slide.

“It was a senseless tragedy that never should’ve happened,” said Shawnee County parent Kirsten Book. “Unfortunately with most things it’s trial and error.”

David Allacher, the aquatic supervisor at aquatic center said the tragedy has left some parents questioning the safety of their slides.

“Safety is our number one priority,” said Allacher.

A new law went into effect July 1 that’s tightening regulations on amusement park rides in Kansas.

“I am happy to see more regulations put in place to keep our kids safer,” she said.

The law defines a water slide as an amusement park ride if its at least 15-feet-tall and uses water to propel someone through it.

Allacher said the Verrückt water slide and their slides are completely different.

“It doesn’t compare to what we have. 35 feet versus how ever many stories that was, there’s no comparison,” he said.

While Shawnee County’s slides remain open, that’s not the case for everyone. Some water parks in the state like Chanute and Roeland Park have closed their slides because of the new regulations.

Allacher said complying with the new law has been a process but he’s confident in the safety of their slides.

 

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