An online petition asking that Raytown’s only public pool be reopened has gathered hundreds of signatures this month.
The petition began circulating on the Change.org website four weeks ago, shortly after a Facebook post reminded residents that the Super Splash water park at 5330 Raytown Road would not be open this summer.
Last August, Raytown’s Park Board voted to close the water park, citing aging equipment, rising operational costs and declining attendance. The pool originally opened in 1963.
“It’s really all about the numbers,” Park Board President Terry Copeland wrote in an August 2016 letter announcing the decision. “For several years the city has subsidized Super Splash as the park aged and operational costs increased. It was a difficult decision.”
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According to the Parks Board, attendance at the pool dropped from 75,000 in 2003 to 29,000 in 2016. On Monday, Copeland said Super Splash lost visitors to newer, competing water parks in Grandview, Independence and south Kansas City.
Raytown officials had been discussing closing Super Splash for years. The Park Board voted to close it in 2014, but that decision was reversed.
Copeland said the city had lost $1 million on Super Splash over time. In its final season, the water park broke even, but only by delaying needed maintenance. The Park Board calculated $450,000 in needed repairs. Parks staff closed one water slide, deeming it unsafe.
Still, some residents hope Super Splash has a future. More than 700 people have signed the petition urging city leaders to reopen the pool. The petition has a goal of 1,000.
The petition says it was started by Lena Collins, a former Super Splash employee, who wrote that the water park means summer jobs for young people and gives residents of surrounding cities one more reason to visit Raytown.
Once complete, the petition is meant to be delivered to the Raytown Board of Aldermen.
Copeland, the Parks Board president, said city officials are working on a proposal to either reopen Super Splash or — more likely — transform it into a more manageable attraction. That proposal would be put in front of Raytown voters at a time yet to be determined.