- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—COLUMBUS — Area residents will have a few extra weekends to enjoy the improved Pawnee Plunge Water Park this summer.

The local water park will remain open on Saturdays and Sundays for four weekends beyond its previously scheduled closing date of Aug. 9. It will also be open on Labor Day.

The hours of operation on the nine additional days will be noon to 6 p.m.

Construction work on a $3.36 million expansion project pushed the Plunge’s opening date back about a month, prompting at least one city council member to request a longer swimming season this year.

“It’s worth a try,” Councilman Jim Bulkley said following the announcement Monday night. “We’ve got nothing to lose.”

Public Property Director Doug Moore previously told the council staffing issues make it difficult to keep the Plunge open later than early August since most of the lifeguards are high school and college students.

But, he told the council Monday night that Aquatics Manager Brook Tomka was able to secure enough staffing to extend this year’s season.

Moore said they will give the longer season a try on a trial basis. Whether it continues in future years will depend on staffing at those times and attendance over the nine days in August and September.

“We’ll have to look at the numbers,” he said.

Attendance at the Plunge has increased since this year’s June 18 opening thanks to hot weather and several new features.

A FlowRider, swimming pool, diving area, climbing wall, splash pad and ship-themed play structure are among the items added during the expansion.

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(c)2015 the Columbus Telegram (Columbus, Neb.)

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Topics: t000410581,t000419090,t000002925

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