City closes big slide because of new law

The “big slide” at the Hillsboro Family Aquatic Center will be closed until further notice. The big slide at the Hills­boro Family Aquatic Center was officially closed to public use July 1 and will remain closed until further notice, thanks to a new law passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor this spring.

The “Kansas Amuse­ment Ride Act and the Amuse­ment Ride Insurance Act” states that no amusement ride shall be operated in Kansas unless a valid permit for such a ride has been issued by the Kansas Depart­ment of Labor, and the owner of the ride has registered with KDOL as an amusement ride, according to a new release from the city of Hillsboro.

The law states that water slides at least 15 feet in height and use water to propel the patron through the ride are considered to be amusement rides, by definition.

The HFAC slide exceeds the 15-feet limit.

The water slide is required to meet ASTM standards and receive written certification by a qualified inspector “acknowledged by the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials or other nationally recognized third-party training organizations, prior top the KDOL permit to operate the slide.”

“The city will apply for this permit,” City Admin­i­strator Larry Paine said. “However, according to the NAARSO website, their organization lists four qualified inspectors in the state of Kansas. Other inspection options are being considered.”

Paine added, “The city apologizes for this inconvenience. However, knowingly being in violation of state law is not a liability it or the public should be willing to assume.

“Citizen concerns may be voiced to area legislators as well,” he added.

Only three lawmakers in the Legislature opposed the bill after Rep. Scott Schwab, an Olathe Repub­lican, gave an emotional speech to colleagues on the House floor in support of the legislation.

Schwab’s son, Caleb, died in August 2016 while riding the Verrückt, a 17-story water slide at the Schlitter­bahn water park in Kansas City, Kan.

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