SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – For the first time in decades the fun has dried up at a Salt Lake City waterpark. Raging Waters, recently known as Seven Peaks, never opened this summer and residents wonder if it will ever reopen.
It used to be a mecca of summertime fun but now Raging Waters is an overgrown eyesore and the site of two raging fires this summer.
Tallgrass and dry weeds near the slides ignited on July 23rd but Salt Lake City fire crews were able to save the structures. Less than two weeks later, on August 4, flames tore through the park’s vacant office.
Fire department investigators are looking into whether homeless squatters in the building started the blaze. So, is the abandoned waterpark a hazard?
“Anytime there’s generally unkempt property at that point it can be a fire hazard,” said Salt Lake City Fire Department Captain Adam Archuleta.
“It has fallen into disrepair. There’s been a lot of years it just hasn’t been maintained well,” said Andrew Johnson, District 2 City Councilman. “As of this week, it’s going to be secured better so more fencing to try to make sure there’s not fire’s there, the weeds and those kinds of things, property damage that sort of thing.”
The waterpark belongs to Salt Lake City which leases it out to private operators. Seven Peaks’ deal expired and now a company called Blue Island has taken over. A company representative tells me they have big plans to renovate the park into a destination resort with new pools, slides, restaurants, retail space, and even the world’s longest lazy river. They envision it as the Disneyland of waterparks, but they need the city’s help to get a loan for the estimated $20-25 million it would cost.
If they do, would area residents even be able to afford going there?
“It’s got to be something that the community can participate in. It’s got to be affordable. I love the sense of having a waterpark in the neighborhood,” said Johnston. “It could be a unique, ongoing asset for my kids and grandkids for years and years to come but it’s going to take some work from a city and a private development perspective.”
The new and improved waterpark is no 2020 vision. a representative from Blue Island says that even if everything goes perfectly, they would not be able to open until 2021.