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Keokuk Rocket Slide Home

Safety and liability concerns led the city of Keokuk to replace the original “Rocket Slide” in Kilbourne Park with a newer model several years ago. 

There were aspects of the original slide that no longer met federal standards.

Nels Olson of Wisconsin bought the Rocket Slide in the hopes of restoring it and installing the slide on his own property.

With that, people in Keokuk seemed to lose track of the slide, until it ended up on the reality television show, American Restoration.

The program restored the slide to its original condition without addressing the safety concerns.

The appearance got people talking about bringing the slide back to Keokuk.

Local business owner Doug Matlick says those talks got a boost when it was learned that Olson no longer wanted the slide.

He says that is when a deal was worked out to transport the slide to Keokuk, where it now sits in an old warehouse awaiting an inspection by the city’s insurance carrier.

Matlick says is confident the slide can be re-installed, so once a newly-formed committee gets the go-ahead, fundraising efforts will get underway.

He says what the rocket slide committee needs from the community at this point is more members.

The price tag is expected to include some money for Olson, who is looking to recover at least some of the $20,000-$40,000 he put into Keokuk’s original rocket slide.

The city is open to the idea of adding the slide to an existing park, but it is not willing to put up any money at this time.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.