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Option restoration is a go: elephant slide from The Big Pool to be restored

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram
Children climb on the elephant slide in the "kiddie pool" portion of the Big Pool July 11 during the farewell celebration for the pool. The slide will be reused at Garden Rapids, but this time as a playground slide on dry land outside the pool.

The Garden City Commission approved an option to refinish the elephant slide from The Big Pool at its regular meeting Tuesday.

The Commission unanimously approved an option for local business Skeeter’s Body Shop, Inc. to restore the paint job on the slide for a total of $13,443.

After the slide is repainted it will be installed in front of the Garden Rapids at The Big Pool facility as a dry slide.

Jennifer Cunningham, Garden City assistant city manager, said the slide will help tell the story of the history of The Big Pool. There will be signage behind the slide that will give some information on the pool's history.

"The reason that we thought this would be a good place for it is because when the pool is closed, which is going to be a larger portion of the year than it is open, people can still be out walking around, which they frequently do in this area, and read about the history of the pool, but also if you had a little kid with you they could hop up on the slide and take a trip down one more time," she said.

Cunningham said she felt the use of the slide was important to the community. When talking with more than 6,000 residents about what they wanted to see with a new aquatics facility, individuals most often asked about the future of the elephant slide.

"Even after we started down the road of this water park that question continued to come up." she said. "We received messages on Facebook about 'the elephant is sitting off to the side, what's being done with it? Where is it going to go?'"

There were three other options for the elephant: a more expensive restoration by SplashTacular, the company providing the slides for the new pool, for a cost of $38,770; an exact replica of the slide by SplashTacular for a cost of $78,337; or to install the slide as is with chipped paint. 

Staff recommended the option to have a local vendor restore the slide, Cunningham said. One reason was the cost, but also the sentimentality of the slide to the community.

"We see it from a staff perspective as iconic, so replacing it takes away its iconic nature ... then just the local company being able to do that, staff feels like that's a very cool thing and getting one more person locally invested in this is something that will last for a long period of time," she said.