By HEATHER TOMLINSON, CJ Staff Writer Commonwealth Journal
Repairs at SomerSplash water park have led to the beginnings of a season without several of its main attractions, but city officials are hopeful that will soon be remedied.
Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler said he and other city officials are hoping that SomerSplash water park will be fully operational as soon as after this weekend. That’s about three weekends later than the usual opening weekend for the popular attraction, which opens its doors every Memorial Day weekend.
“Until they (the contractors) are finished, there’s not much we can do about it,” said Girdler.
The city in February bid out work to repair the lazy river attraction. Stephen Sims, SomerSplash manager, told city councilors in April during a budget workshop that work was slated to begin on the lazy river in late April.
The city has shelled out money in the past year or so to help keep the park’s attractions — including the lazy river, wave pool, speed and bowl slides, tube slides, and a kids’ play area — in tip-top shape. The park, no doubt a popular summer destination for local and out-of-town visitors alike, is in its seventh season. The park officially opened in June 2006.
“The park’s been there eight or nine years now, we’re having to spend a little more on maintenance,” said Jimmy Hogg, the city’s financial officer, during the April budget workshop meeting.
According to tentative budget numbers presented to the council in April, slide resurfacing was expected to cost about $170,000, which is included in this year’s budget (ending June 30), and repairs to the lazy river, the current repair project that is also included in this year’s budget, was expected to cost about $215,000.
Expected expenses for the 2013-2014 fiscal year includes $150,000 for resurfacing to the kids’ play area.
The issue arose when May 25 came and went — several days past what Girdler said was the contracted end date of May 18 for the lazy river repair — and the project hadn’t been completed. That means the lazy river, speed slide, bowl slide, and tube slide are still not operational, according to Girdler. That’s because water from those slides feed into the lazy river, Girdler said.
“Hopefully, if everything goes well, it’ll be operational by this weekend,” said Girdler.
The park is currently charging half-price for daily passes. Currently, a daily “Ride-N-Slide” pass is $7.50, and a “Half Splash” pass is $6.50. The usual prices are $14.95 for “Ride-N-Slide” and $12.95 for the “Half-Splash” pass. Season passes are $69.95.
“This isn’t good for those with season passes and those who come expecting the whole park to be open,” said Girdler.
Girdler said the city will seek to collect damages from the contractor for the missed date of completion — stated in the city’s invitation to bid, published on Feb. 10, 2013, to be within 60 calendar days of the issuance of notice to proceed on the repair work.
“We’re just collecting damages at this point,” said Girdler.