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Slides at Waves of Fun to reopen Wednesday

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The slides at the Waves of Fun pool in Hurricane will reopen Wednesday.

The three slides, located next to the wave pool, were installed in 1989. They have been shut down since the beginning of this year's season, which began around Memorial Day, according to pool manager Jamie Wright.

"They didn't pass inspection from the Division of Labor at the beginning of the season. Some work had to be done on the structure," Wright said.

Rust damage, deteriorating handrails and aging carpet on the slides' 35-foot-high platform should have been addressed years ago, according to Scott Williamson, director of Putnam County Parks and Recreation.

"Since I've been here, we've been playing catch-up with the wave pool facility," Williamson said. "The people preceding the gentleman with the Division of Labor that flagged us this year gave us a clean bill ... for the past six years with no mention of anything."

Fixing the structural damage to the platform cost about $7,000, Williamson said.

"The engineer said this was not anything that would have collapsed, but the chance was there, and if we didn't do our part to try and make the structure safe, we would have been negligent and liable for not doing it," he said. "Being overly cautious is not a bad thing."

Two years ago, during the winter months, about $250,000 was spent to resurface the slides, Williamson said.

"We found out actual fiberglass was coming up and didn't want people sliding down," he said.

Mike Ayers, a compliance auditor with the state Division of Labor, said he was at the pool Monday to make sure the repairs had been made. The Division of Labor requires an annual safety inspection, among other things.

"I went and did my inspection and it passed," Ayers said. "We felt it needed to be repaired, and they've done that -- it's safe."

A third-party engineer who initially inspected the slides earlier this year also has given approval for reopening, Ayers noted.

While the slides were being repaired, pool admission prices were reduced. Beginning Wednesday, prices will return to $9 per person, $7 for children between the ages of 5 and 11, and kids ages 4 and younger get in free.

The 30-year-old pool, which is known for creating oceanlike waves, was without its waves last month when a motor that creates the waves stopped working. That also has been repaired, according to pool officials.

Reach Kate White at kate.white@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.


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