Friday, August 15, 2003

Park pulls the plug on WaterWorks

By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] With the temperature in the high 80s Thursday, WaterWorks was a popular attraction for visitors to Paramount's Kings Island.
(Michael Snyder photo)
| ZOOM |
MASON - Seven-year-old Kourtney Engle did not take lightly to Thursday's news that Paramount's Kings Island is closing its WaterWorks Water Park after this season.

"I think it stinks," the Lewisburg resident said as she took a break from the twisting water slides.

Park officials announced that the 15-acre water park, open since 1989, is closing to make room for future Kings Island expansion in 2004. While they remain tight-lipped about details, they did not rule out the idea that another water attraction could be in store.

"If you liked WaterWorks, you will love what we are putting in," said spokeswoman Maureen Boothe. "We're developing something very exciting."

More details are expected around Labor Day weekend.

WaterWorks is located behind the Nickelodeon Central area of the theme park. It has more than 20 attractions, with the most popular being the various slides, Surfside Bay wave pool and the Lazy River.

It's also home to the Tristate's tallest water slide, Plunge, at 70 feet, according to Boothe.

WaterWorks was included in the regular park admission price. Next year's prices will not be reduced because the water park is closing, but park officials say the ticket price will include admission to whatever the expansion is.

The news astonished many WaterWorks attendees Thursday afternoon.

"This is why we come here," said Ginny Ball, 53, a babysitter from Bridgetown. "It's something we could bring the kids to and not chase them all over the place."

She and some of the teens she was with said they hoped water attractions would be part of the expansion.

Mark Iles thought it was time the 14-year-old water park was updated.

"In some ways, it's too bad, but I'm also not surprised," said the 42-year-old Liberty Township man, who was basking in the sun while his three children played in the water.

"They need something to revitalize it. We've been season pass members for seven years and it's almost like, why should we keep coming?"

Officials dispelled rumors that Kings Island was only going to reopen the water park under a new name next season. Park spokesman Jeffrey Sibert said the expansion would be "much more than that."

In 2002, Surf Cincinnati in Forest Park announced it would not be reopening for the summer season. Instead, The Beach Waterpark in Mason honored that attraction's season passes.

Pamela Strickfaden, The Beach's vice president and general manager, said it was still too early to see what effect - if any - WaterWorks' closing would have on their park.

"It may be a very positive decision for Kings Island and possibly for us," she said.

"Our business has always been strictly water."


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