Chesterton Tribune



Seven Peaks Waterpark opens June 7 after major renovation

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The opening of Seven Peaks Waterpark Duneland is delayed two weeks. The official opening day now is June 7, and a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony will be set later next month.

The new owners of the former Splash Down Dunes on U.S. 20 at Waverly Road originally had hoped to open for the Memorial Day weekend, but bad weather and unexpected delays replacing deteriorated infrastructure prevented that.

General manager Matthew Phair said the underground electrical system is 100 percent new, as is 95 percent of its above-ground service. Much of the plumbing had to be upgraded as well.

Despite working around the clock, seven days a week, "We can't dig trenches when it's raining and water fills them up again, or sandblast in the wind," said Phair.

Safety for both the patrons and employees of Seven Peaks is the park's No. 1 priority, he assured.

When the park was purchased last summer by Utah-based Seven Peaks, $1.5 million to $2 million in improvements were planned. Phair said well over $400,000 has been spent so far on what is a three-year renovation program.

While most of the water rides will be open this summer, it was determined the Lazy River was beyond repair so a new one is being designed. The nearby black and yellow slide also will be operable later.

Three to five vendors will sell food at the park, and more than 200 employees have been hired.

Porter building commissioner Mike Barry said Seven Peaks won't get a final inspection and occupancy permit until its releases from the Porter County Health Department, Indiana Department of Environmental Management and a federal NPDES drainage permit all are in hand.

Barry said a misunderstanding occurred over grading the Seven Peaks parking lot on the west side of Waverly, but that's been resolved.

Phair said park management is engineering a new north entrance to allow one-way in and one-way out of the parking lot to improve safety. Site-plan approval will be needed from the Porter Plan Commission, and a special meeting may be requested.

Last year Seven Peaks owner Gary Brinton of Utah said if the town allows it, Seven Peaks eventually will build a pedestrian tunnel under Waverly Road connecting the 17-acre water park and 15-acre parking lot parcels.

Formerly the Enchanted Forest family fun center, Splash Down Dunes was abandoned for several years when Seven Peaks bought it. The company operates two water parks and three fun centers in Utah.




Posted 5/24/2013