New slides previewed at Killens Pond State Park

PHOTO CAPTION: Joining in the ribbon-cutting and preview for the renovated waterpark at Killens Pond State Park were, left to right, State Senator Dave Lawson, Dr. Brenda Wynder, Governor Markell, State Representative Tim Dukes, Senator Gary Simpson, Representative William Outen and DNREC Secretary David Small. Special to The Journal

PHOTO CAPTION: Joining in the ribbon-cutting and preview for the renovated waterpark at Killens Pond State Park were, left to right, State Senator Dave Lawson, Dr. Brenda Wynder, Governor Markell, State Representative Tim Dukes, Senator Gary Simpson, Representative William Outen and DNREC Secretary David Small. Special to The Journal

FELTON – Four brand new, state-of-the-art water slides were previewed today at the Killens Pond State Park waterpark by DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation.

On hand to view on the newly-rehabbed waterpark were Governor Jack Markell, DNREC Secretary David Small, Delaware State Parks Director Ray Bivens and Dr. Brenda Wynder, Superintendent of the Lake Forest School District. The slides are expected to open to the public by Friday, just in time for the July 4th holiday weekend.

The two new spiral slides and two speed slides are each mounted on a 54-foot-high platform, almost twice as high as the slides they replaced. Other improvements include an enhanced entry with colorful canopies, an enlarged queuing area to provide shade for customers waiting to enter the waterpark, and additional ticket booths to expedite the ticketing process. Accessibility improvements have been completed at the bathhouse, which also received fresh coats of paint, and a new building to house the water filtration system to support the slide complex and future improvements.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell speaks to the crowd in front of the new water slides at Killens Pond State Park in Felton. Special to The Journal

Delaware Governor Jack Markell speaks to the crowd in front of the new water slides at Killens Pond State Park in Felton. Special to The Journal

“The improvements at the Killens Pond State Park waterpark enhance what is already a great Delaware destination, making it even more attractive to families and anyone who lives, works or visits here,” said Gov. Markell. “This project is an investment that will bring more visitors to the state, support the economy and provide families with a fun, safe and healthy option to get outside and enjoy nature.”

Not counting regular maintenance, this is the first renovation since the waterpark opened 20 years ago. The original slides were built in 1996. Those were removed in 2014 due to age and safety concerns, which left just one temporary 15-foot-high spiral slide.

“The upgrades to the waterpark are the latest in a number of major improvements to the amenities and infrastructure that make our state parks such exceptional places to enjoy the outdoors in Delaware,” said Sec. Small. “We are grateful for the support of Governor Markell, our General Assembly, our Friends organizations and most importantly, our park visitors who understand the value of our parks and their contributions to our quality of life. The new slides and improvements will help maintain Killens Pond State Park as a premier destination in Kent County.”

A master plan for improvements to the waterpark’s pool area was mapped out in 2014 and divided into four phases. Construction of this first phase began in December of 2015. The $3.7 million improvements for Phase 1 and some other parts of the project were funded from the FY 2016 Capital Bond Bill and Division-generated revenue from daily entrance and camping fees, among other sources.

State Senators David Lawson, Colin Bonini and Brian Bushweller, and State Representative William Outten provided Community Transportation Funds used to purchase a new sound system which provides public safety messages and customer service announcements to waterpark visitors.

The Phase I improvements are expected to attract as many as 110,000 people this summer alone. The waterpark schedule and entrance fee information can be found at www.destateparks.com

Delaware State Parks has completed $15 million in capital improvements within the parks system during this fiscal year with funding from user fees, state bond bill allocations, Federal Land & Water Conservation Grants, Community Transportation Funds, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, Friends of Delaware State Parks private grants and fundraising, Federal Fish & Wildlife Restoration grants, private donations from foundations such as Longwood and Crystal Trust, and other sources.

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