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Water park is less wet than planned

includes video

 

Scott Hunter

Kids rock, slip and roll on toys in the water park feature at the chamber of commerce's Festival of America.

New interpretations of old regulations forced a last-minute change to plans for a water park, a new feature of the chamber of commerce's Festival of America.

The Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce, which is putting on the festival and an associated feature for kids meant to be more about water features, is less so than planned.

The changed followed an 11th-hour phone call from the Grant County Health District, which said it wouldn't allow the features that had been planned.

There are still water-based features for kids to get wet in, but no water on the big slides the chamber and its vendor had planned on until Friday.

Kids at the park on Saturday appeared to not notice, still spashing and laughing in the features that were allowed and then sliding down several big slides and other inflatable toys.

Just before the end of the business day on Thursday, the Grant County Health District informed the chamber by phone that it could not operate the park as planned. The district is enforcing state rules written decades ago to address constructing public water features, such as big water slides. They are applying them now to an emerging area of concern for public health officials: inflatables and other less permanent water features.

A more complete story will be published in The Star on Wednesday.

Several water features at the park below the Visitor Center at Grand Coulee Dam are available, including a couple four-way, inflatable teeter-totter-type toys by sprinklers, a big slip and slide area, a spray tank and others.

None of them include the pooling of water that health officials say could spread germs between participants.

In addition, other inflatable toys have been added to the feature designed to entertain kids. Chamber officials are hoping that re-planned design, and a predicted high temperature that will be far lower than last year's 108° F in the park, will serve the public just as well.

Saturday afternoon, with the temperature just below 80 and breeze, that appeared to be the case.

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