Roeland Park council weighs in on aquatic center design, looks to include stingray slide and interactive play structure

Roeland Park is considering updates to its pool structure. The city took over full ownership and management of the pool after an operating agreement with Johnson County Park and Recreation District ended last year.

The Roeland Park city council on Monday evening offered direction to the aquatic engineering and design firm Water’s Edge for the city’s aquatic center design, including a decision on a stingray or aquatic animal toddler slide and an interactive play structure.

Dave Schwartz, a professional engineer with Water’s Edge, presented a schematic design of the aquatic center for the council to review and offer input on. Phase one of the two-part improvement project includes the following additions, priced at a total of $1.74 million, according to city documents:

  • An ADA ramp
  • A shaded water bench
  • A play structure and toddler slide
  • Shallow area sprays and a spray pad area
  • Floatables, anchored to the floor of the pool
  • Open, enclosed and family water slides
The schematic design for Roeland Park’s aquatic center shows where the new amenities would be incorporated.

Councilmember Jennifer Hill said she was concerned that there would be too much going on in the zero-depth area of the pool, with the shallow area sprays, and water bench in close proximity to all three slides and the floatables. Hill said people typically like to sit in the zero-depth area as if it were a beach, and from the design it seemed there would be no place to sit.

Schwartz said the schematic design is deceiving, but that he understood Hill’s concerns. Councilmember Benjamin Dickens said he agreed with Hill, and asked Schwartz if this is typical of pools similar in size, to which Schwartz said yes.

“People want to be entertained,” Schwartz said. “Kids want to have things to do things with.”

Aside from the above additions to the pool, phase one will also include the removal of the existing vortex pool, the existing slides and their associated pool. That area will be filled in with soil and grass, Schwartz said. Additionally, he provided a breakdown of numbers on the center’s water recirculation and a summary of piping, which will be used as follows:

  • Main drain, gutter and treated water piping will be reused
  • Three-inch piping to and from the wading pool will be repurposed
  • Piping to the zero-depth area will be repaired as needed
  • Piping to and from the vortex and old slides will be abandoned

“We’re taking what you got that works, and we’re using it, then supplementing it so it can work without the expense, trouble and the maintenance that you’ve had in the past,” Schwartz said.

Phase two of the project would include a speed slide and a lazy river. City Administrator Keith Moody said phase two does not have a funding source, and both the how and when city council funds phase two is yet to be determined.

Councilmembers directed Schwartz to look at more options for spray features, including tall ones with caricatures and ones that are flush with the pool floor. Councilmembers also discussed bringing back a toddler whale slide similar to the one of year’s past, but directed Schwartz to look at a stingray slide or another aquatic animal option.

Lastly, they referred the decision for new pool lounging chairs to the aquatics committee. Moody said the decision will not hold up the process to begin construction by September 2020, as the chairs were not part of the original renovations. Schwartz said he would come back with updated information for the council during the Jan. 21 governing body workshop.