Click photo to enlarge
Mimi Waluch, revenue and administration manager for the East Bay Regional Park District, looks at the water pumps at the water slides at Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area in Pleasanton, Calif., on Friday, Feb. 10, 2012. Because of the current condition of the Rapids Waterslides, which opened in 1981, it will not be opening this year. (Doug Duran/Staff)

PLEASANTON -- City residents and officials on Monday urged the East Bay Regional Park District to save the aging waterslides at Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area.

"The slides would be greatly missed," Pleasanton mom Julie Testa said of the attraction visited by children and youth groups from many East Bay communities. "It would be such a loss to the community."

The value of the cool recreation from the slides, Testa said, was apparent Monday when temperatures climbed into the 90s in the Tri-Valley, and the attraction remained closed.

The park district closed the privately built and operated slides for the summer season for the first time in 40 years after inspectors from several agencies said substantial renovations are needed in the slide foundations, surface, electrical and water systems, bathrooms and other amenities.

Regional park officials have estimated repairs could cost $6.5 million, while the old operator estimates the cost for the job is less than $300,000.

Either way, park officials say they can't afford the repairs, and they can't allow children on an unsafe facility.

In a meeting Monday of the park district/Pleasanton liaison committee, park officials said the fate of the attraction depends on their efforts to attract a private business to take over the slides and bring them up to code.

The park district anticipates it will issue a formal request late this summer for proposals from businesses to renovate and operate the four-flume waterslides, said Mimi Waluch, a regional park manager who oversees concessions.

Chuck Bierdeman, a Pleasanton resident, said he thinks the park district should act more urgently. "The community wants to have these slides open," he said, "and they want them soon."

Waluch said that before asking businesses to submit proposals to take over the slides, the park district must finish consultations with two engineering firms to define the scope of the needed renovations.

Pleasanton City Council members Cindy McGovern and Jerry Thorne urged the district to do what it can to save the family attraction.

The waterslides have attracted at least 25,000 paying customers per summer season and provided 35 jobs for youths.

Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff.