WATERVILLE — After months of anticipation, eager swimmers lined up to try out the new slides at the Alfond Municipal Pool as more than 100 kids took the plunge on Thursday afternoon.

Amanda Shirley, 18, gets first ride on the blue water slide as the long awaited water slides opened at the Alfond Municipal Pool in Waterville on Thursday. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

To commemorate the completion of the $762,702 project, Quinn Morris, 8, and Amanda Shirley, 18, took the inaugural rides down the two slides, something that Shirley said she’s been waiting for all summer.

“Every time I come here, I look up to see if the slides are ready,” Shirley said. “I’m so excited.”

The need to replace the slides first arose in 2016 when an engineering analysis of the slide pool determined it had reached the end of its glory days. One of the slides was out of commission for the 2018 season.

Quinn Morris, 8, gets first dibs on the yellow water slide at the opening of the long awaited slides at the Alfond Municipal Pool in Waterville on Thursday. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

The project was set in motion in April 2018 after the Harold Alfond Foundation donated $570,000 to the city to help revamp the slides which had been in use for nearly 20 years and the city council approved the use of an additional $274,000 from a pool reserve fund. In June 2018 the city contracted with Vortex Aquatic Structures International to build the facility.

Matt Skehan, the city’s parks and recreation director who led the way on the project, expressed immense gratitude to those who helped bring the new and improved slides to the community.

“I want to thank the Harold Alfond Foundation for their generosity in providing funding,” Skehan said. “I also want to thank the city council for their help and the city’s engineer, Nick Champagne ... I’m very proud of this project and I promise we’re going to take good care of it.”

Replacing the slide pool was phase one of a two-phase construction project at the complex. The next step is to revamp the main pool, kiddie pools and locker rooms, but Skehan said that the dates and details of phase two have yet to be finalized.

The slides were originally set to open on June 15, but that date was pushed back because city officials “wanted to make sure everything was running perfectly,” according to Skehan.

Because of the delay, the community has just four days to enjoy the slides before the end of the 2019 season, but that short amount of time isn’t a worry for people such as Bobbie-Jo Green, the recreation director for the facility.

Quinn Morris, 8, gets first dibs on the yellow water slide at the opening of the long awaited slides at the Alfond Municipal Pool in Waterville on Thursday. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

“We’re really excited to have a great four days with these slides,” Green said. “It may seem short, but we’re still super excited. We want everyone to come on down and check us out. Sunday is a free day, so we want everyone to come try them out.”

The grand opening also attracted others such as State Representative Bruce White, who sees the project as a positive addition to the Waterville community.

“Look how many kids are out here enjoying this. This is what it’s all about,” White said. “It’s a long-term investment in the community.”

The Alfond Municipal Pool is open from 12:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

 


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