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Kansas Water Slides Close Over Confusion of New Law - KOAM TV 7

Kansas Water Slides Close Over Confusion of New Law

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CHANUTE, KANSAS -

Several cities in Kansas have decided to close their aquatic center's water slide because of uncertainty about a new state law.  

Sure, you can still take a dip in the pool, or go for a plunge off diving boards.  But there's something about water slides; closed water slides, in particular.

"I'm kinda bummed," says Isabella Barney.

Consider Barney a spokesperson for many other kids across Kansas.  It's a big downer to force so much water slide awesomeness strictly into memory.

Barney says, "You got to go really fast, and whenever you would turn, the water would splash on you!" 

Chanute's city manager says it was a tough decision to close the City's water slide, probably for the rest of this pool season.

"It takes one element out of the aquatic operation that we can't offer back to the public until we get that rectified," says Chanute City Manager Jeff Cantrell.

There is no known problem to rectify with Chanute's water slide, or many other water slides across the state, for that matter.  But a new state law was passed after a horrific accident last summer on a Kansas City water slide, killing a child.

Water slides 15 feet high or taller that use water to propel a person through the ride must have a new state inspection.

"At the end of the day, water has to be pumped to get to the top of a slide," says Cantrell.

But many officials in many cities across the state contend gravity, not water, is the main force propelling riders.  Lawmakers haven't officially addressed this confusion, causing cities to close their water slide anyway.

"The penalty provision doesn't kick in on this until the beginning of next year," says Cantrell.  "However, that doesn't negate a municipality's obligation to the law.  So if we did encounter an accident as a result of this, I would think that would cause some further complication."

So, between now and whenever that new state inspection will happen, kiddos will be tormented by water slides towering over their play.  Nine-year-old Barney, and others older than her, have some words of patience, though.

"Just to make sure no one falls off and gets hurt," says Barney.

"If, for some reason, it's not safe, then I would rather not have it there at all then for our kids to be in jeopardy," says Betsy Olson, a Chanute resident.

An official with the League of Kansas Municipalities confirms officials in several cities are confused over this new law.  City officials have been told there aren't enough state inspectors to perform inspections on a timely basis.  

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