What a ride it has been but the popular waterslides opened in 1981 at Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area will not be refurbished or rebuilt.
One vendor, Harvest Family Entertainment LLC, based in Texas, made two proposals, said Jim O'Connor, assistant general manager of the East Bay Regional Park District, but they did not meet the terms set by the district.
"They wanted the district to fund 80 percent," O'Connor said.
This would have equated to the district paying $2.4 million to replace the current facility on 3.5 acres, or $9.6 million to expand water features to be on up to 11 acres.
"The staff recommendation was to reject the proposals," O'Connor said. "They didn't meet the terms, which was full funding and future operations and maintenance."
At the Park District operations committee meeting Feb. 21, its members voted 3-0 to support the staff recommendation, he added.
A long-range land use plan for Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area, approved by the Park District board of directors in May 2011, said the waterslides were expected to remain open for another 10 years. However, the facility was not reopened for the 2012 summer season after inspections last winter determined they needed extensive repairs.
The land use plan calls for removing the waterslide structures, then adding picnic sites with tables, benches, barbeques, shade shelter, wind screening and trees. It also calls for developing a "splash pad" playground or other water-play area geared to families with young children.
"The committee is asking us to expedite the land use plan," O'Connor said, "but we currently have no funding to remove the existing waterslides and no funding to implement the plan."
Supporters of the waterslides attended previous Park District meetings to speak on their value as a recreational facility during the hot summer months and as a place for teen employment, but O'Connor said no one from the public attended last Thursday's meeting.
The Rapids Waterslide was opened in 1981 by Glenn Kierstad under a 25-year contract. After its expiration, the operation continued with year-to-year agreements, which Kierstad has said prevented him from making improvements.
Water Ventures, a water park developer based in Lake Forest, conducted a study of the facility last summer and concluded the "site is an excellent venue for such a water park," and a request for proposals went out with a deadline of Dec. 20. But only Harvest Family Entertainment responded.
The Rapids Waterslide area covers about 3.5 acres, which includes four waterslides, a maintenance building, office, storage, separate men's and women's restrooms with dressing areas and lockers, and a picnic area with a shade structure, picnic tables and barbeques.
Water Ventures reported that in order to be successful, the waterslides facility should offer more opportunities for water play, such as wave pools, leisure pools and lazy rivers. But it said improvements needed before reopening the current facility would total $885,100.
"The cost estimate for the renovation work would be $1.4 million when you add up all the engineering costs, permitting, inspection," O'Connor said in September.