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Will Schlitterbahn open this year? KCK waterpark shows no signs of activity

Posted at 3:42 PM, Apr 22, 2019

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas, usually opens at the end of May. With about a month to go, there are no signs the park will open at all in 2019.

"We have no news about our Kansas property at this time," waterpark spokeswoman Winter Prosapio told 41 Action News on Monday.

Prosapio said no tickets or season passes for 2019 have been sold.

In 2016, 10-year-old Caleb Schwab died on the waterpark’s Verruckt slide. A Wyandotte County judge dismissed all criminal charges against waterpark officials in February. In October, a jury found two former maintenance employees not guilty of lying to investigators after the boy's death.

The park's uncertain future has past season ticket holders wondering about summer plans.

"I believe by this time last year, we had gotten something from (Schlitterbahn) in regards to our season passes for the year," said Brittani Willnauer, a former season ticket holder.

Willnauer said her family was excited to go back to Schlitterbahn this summer, but she still hasn't heard anything from the park.

On Aug. 11, 2018, Schlitterbahn posted on its Facebook page that all 2018 season pass holders would get a 2019 season pass for free.

"There were a lot of complaints on ride availability and hours of operation, so anyone who had a season pass in 2018 would be getting a free one on them," Willnauer said.

A spokesperson for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, said it has not been told anything about the waterpark's plans for the season.

The park shows no signs of activity. Tickets are not available for the Kansas location on its website, and there are no job postings.

Schlitterbahn's other locations already list both ticket packages and job openings for the summer. The company has four other locations, all in Texas.

Schlitterbahn's Kansas location has not posted on its Facebook page since last October, but the other locations' pages show recent activity. Many of the other locations are posting ticket information on their Facebook pages.

The Kansas Department of Labor gave 41 Action News the permits for the waterpark's 11 rides. Most of them expire on June 20, 2019, and four of them expire on July 29, 2019.

The agency said its office has not received an application to renew Schlitterbahn's permits. The waterpark is in compliance with the law until the permits expire, and the park has up to 30 days before the expiration date to renew. For many of the rides, that date would be May 20.

Willnauer said she wouldn't be surprised if Schlitterbahn closes, but her family has never had any issues there.

"Excited to go back if they're going to open," Willnauer said. "My son has been asking about it for the last two months every time we drive by, 'Are we going to Schlitterbahn?' I don't know."