KC Schlitterbahn Remains In Limbo
This past June I told you the parent company of Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun, Cedar Fair, obtained the rights to purchase the troubled Schlitterbahn Kansas City water park. It was part of a sale where Cedar Fair bought two Schlitterbahn parks in Texas for $261 Million Dollars. Fox4KC.com is reporting Cedar Fair has let their 120 day option to purchase the Kansas City water park expire.
At the time I speculated that I didn't think Cedar Fair would re-open the KC Schlitterbahn because they already own Oceans of Fun, which is only 25 miles away. Plus, I thought Cedar Fair's purchase of the Texas parks had more to do with them entering the Texas amusement market dominated by Six Flags.
Katherine Carttar, director of economic development with the Unified Government of Kansas City, Kansas, told FOX4KC.com that despite the decision her department is still cautiously optimistic, and their first choice is to see it reopen as a water park.
I can't blame Schlitterbahn's owners, the Henry family, from walking away from the Kansas City park. The park never lived up to the family's vision for what they wanted it to be. That's before the embarrassment of a poorly designed water slide, touted as the world's tallest and fastest, that caused injuries, death, and ultimately a significant amount of money for the company. Not to mention the loss of trust between the park's operators and customers.
One of the biggest questions facing anyone who would be interested in buying Schlitterbahn Kansas City is can the community get beyond the tragedy of Verrückt? Do people still want to come to this place where a ten year old lost his life on a water slide that never should have been built? It's possible. Tragedies like this have happened at other amusement parks, and over time people forget and the tragedy becomes a footnote in the history of the park.
I suppose the Henry family could reopen the park themselves next summer or in 2021, they still own it. Yet the Fox4KC.com article and the quotes from the director of economic development of Kansas City seem to indicate that probably won't happen.
At this point it's unclear when or if people will beat the heat by splashing around at Schlitterbahn KC, or whether the park will eventually deteriorate and become a favorite place of urban explorers to check out before being bulldozed and redeveloped into something else.