Thrill seekers will have to wait: Broward park’s water slide behind schedule

Lynn Buchalter postponed taking her 13 summer campers to Broward County’s C.B. Smith Park until this week, hoping the new, 50-foot-tall, four-lane Paradise Pipeline water slide under construction since last December would be open. After all, a sign at the entrance to the Pembroke Pines complex said completion was anticipated by mid-summer.

But Buchalter’s group arrived to find the site of the former H2Whoa slide barricaded off, with hard-hat workers and heavy machinery moving dirt and equipment around.

Undaunted, some of the younger kids slid down the smaller slides leading to the Parrot’s Point kiddie pool. But four teenage girls lay on beach towels in the shade using their smart phones.

“It’s a bummer for the older kids,” Buchalter said. “They should give you a discount.”

Seated on a blanket nearby, Laurie Escarco of New Jersey seconded that emotion. Her 10-year-old son, 8-year-old daughter, and 13-year-old nephew had come for the big slide.

Said Sophie Escarco: “I wanted to go on it, so I was sad.”

The new $2.5 million multi-colored slide will not open before the start of public school Aug. 19. Jim Federici, manager of Broward County’s park planning and design section, said it will likely be the end of September before the much-anticipated pipeline conducts its first batch of thrill-seekers.

That won’t give kids much time to enjoy it. The Pembroke Pines water park is open weekends only after Labor Day, then closes for the season in October, not to re-open until March 2014.

Right now, workers from West Construction in West Palm Beach are erecting the steel that holds the slides, Federici said, and more slide parts are on their way here from the manufacturer in Mexico to be assembled on site.

“It takes a long time to build it,” he said.

But before construction could even begin, he said, workers had to prepare the site — a tall hill made up of 40,000 yards of dirt that had to be cut down to ground level. During excavation, workers uncovered a car buried 30 years ago when the original slide was built, along with muck that had to be removed.

In addition to the slide tunnels, a new pool will be constructed to catch the sliders.

Violet Sorensen, a chaperone for a group of 15 day campers from South Miami, didn’t sound happy as she gazed at the construction site Thursday.

“This looks like it’s going to take a long time,” Sorensen said.

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