Unified Government mayor believes Schlitterbahn water park has a future

Bill Grady
April 24, 2019 - 7:03 am

John Sleezer-Kansas City Star-TNS-Sipa USA


Executives at Texas-based Schlitterbahn Waterparks & Resorts have not said whether their Kansas City, Kansas location will open this summer, but despite the tragic death of a patron there, some local people want it to return.

The future of the water park has been in doubt since the fatal August 7, 2016 accident on Verruckt, the world's tallest water slide. Caleb Schwab, 10, died when the raft he was riding flew off the ramp, causing his head to strike a metal bar above.

In spite of the accident, Schlitterbahn has been good for Wyandotte County, especially in generating tax revenue, said David Alvey, Unified Government mayor.

"It's a good working park, and I believe that it will come back," Alvey said. "I'm not sure when or how, but I believe it's going to. It's economically productive and I believe it will prove itself in the future."

The potential loss of Schlitterbahn would not be catastrophic to the county, Alvey said.

"There's so much other economic activity that fed into that STAR bond district, that I think it's a temporary decline," Alvey said. "Certainly nothing that's going to put the STAR bonds in jeopardy."

 Alvey does not rule out a different owner taking over the property.

Two park employees have been acquitted of criminal wrongdoing in connection with Schwab's death. In January, a judge dismissed felony charges against Schlitterbahn co-owner Jeffrey Henry, lead designer John Schooley and operations manager Tyler Miles after attorneys argued evidence shown to grand jurors was inadmissable. Prosecutors have not announced plans to refile charges against the defendants. 

Verruckt has been torn down.

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