SplashDown Nearing End of Useful Life

The Columbia Association is currently looking for a consultant to help guide officials in replacing the aging water slides.


The two 40-foot high water slides that make up SplashDown may not be in use for much longer, according to a spokesperson.

The aquatics master plan, which was approved on June 14, will keep SplashDown open until either new family-friendly features are constructed or another major SplashDown component requires replacement, whichever occurs first.

Do you think SplashDown should close? Tell us in comments.

SplashDown was closed for a large part of 2011 after ; a project that cost the CA $84,000 to repair. SplashDown after the repairs were completed.

“The number of people using SplashDown has significantly declined over the years,” wrote CA spokesperson David Greisman in an email, echoing what was written in the Aquatics Master Plan. “CA does provide services that cost it money, but this is a case where the cost of maintaining SplashDown doesn’t match up with the lesser number of people who benefit.”

The Aquatics Master Plan notes that in 2011, general attendance of SplashDown amounted to 2,150 people and 419 birthday parties, a decline from 2007 when 5,000 people attended and 680 birthday parties took place.

Also, a recent engineering study noted that the tubes on the slides needed to be replaced, an expense that would cost the CA at least $250,000, according to the master plan.

Greisman wrote that SplashDown is coming to the end of its useful life and that the CA believes there are new amenities that could replace it that would be as, if not more, exciting to the community.

As for what those new amenitites are, Greisman wrote that there are no specific options yet, but that the CA has put out requests for proposals for a consultant to help decide what to replace SplashDown with in the Columbia Swim Center.

Greisman noted the results of that study should be in by the end of the year.

SplashDown, a system of two 40-foot high, 360-foot long swirling slides, was originally built in 1987 and quickly became one of the most popular spots for birthday parties in Maryland, until 2000, when its popularity began to wane, according to the Aquatics Master Plan.

The CA will also be accepting community input during the process to replace SplashDown, according to Greisman.

See past Patch coverage on Splashdown:

KRead June 27, 2012 at 12:28 PM
No, Splashdown should not close. It is a valued amenity in Columbia and a place that the kids love. Our CA fees are supposed to included this attraction. The only circumstance in which Splashdown should close is if another approved option is presented, complete with all details including location, that the public deems as an acceptable replacement.
Zulma Whiteford June 27, 2012 at 12:29 PM
The end of an era? My kids spent many weekends enjoying and subsequently working at this facility. Has the Columbia Association looked into the reason for the decrease in attendance? I can't help but think that kids still need a safe and secure venue to hang out at on Friday nights and weekends. CA needs to revisit what they are currently offering and compare it with their offerings 10 years ago.


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