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Tinley opts against a third slide at White Water Canyon

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



Tinley Park’s park district voted against adding a third water slide to its White Water Canyon Water Park on Wednesday.

Park officials had been considering a project to build a new thrill ride at the five-acre outdoor swimming center, but decided to postpone its decision until it receives word on a grant with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources that would enable the district to move forward with plans of renovating its rec center.

That means that White Water Canyon, 8221 W. 171st St., won’t be getting a new slide on its grounds — at least not by next summer. The slide was budgeted to cost about $375,000, but park officials estimated the expense at closer to $300,000.

“We weren’t sure, with the economy the way it is, if right now is the time we wanted to be spending $300,000,” facilities manager Karol Komar said.

The sought-after grant money, part of the Park and Recreational Facility Construction program, would allow the park district to make substantive additions to its Bettenhausen Recreation Center, which would include a new four-lane lap pool and teen center. More importantly, the district would move its fitness center from an aging facility across town and relocate it to the Bettenhausen site.

The rec center sits about 75 feet west of White Water Canyon, and according to Komar, district officials would rather wait until any possible grant money comes through so that both projects could be worked on simultaneously. In order to have the slide completed by opening day of the 2012 season, the district had to approve the project by June. But because of uncertainty with the grant money for the rec center, it decided to hold off on the water ride.

“We still want to put the slide up,” Komar said.

White Water Canyon, one of the premier public water parks in the area, already boasts two slides, one requiring an inner tube and one which moves at a modest pace. The facility originally was designed to accommodate a third slide. Marketing manager Matt Libs said the new slide would not require an inner tube and would be faster and scarier, hopefully becoming an attractive ride for teens. Libs said the slide would be placed in between the two existing slides to fit like a jigsaw puzzle piece.

The project would bring a new wrinkle to the 10-year-old aquatics center, which had a record season last summer, attracting about 10,000 patrons.

Komar said money for the slide would be saved to build the slide later.

White Water Canyon opens June 4.



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