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Rocket Slide Fundraising to Begin

The idea of re-installing Keokuk’s old rocket slide could gain some momentum in the coming weeks and months.

The city replaced the slide in Kilbourne Park with a newer model, several years ago, over safety and liability concerns.

The slide was eventually sold to a Wisconsin man, who allowed it to be restored as part of a Las Vegas-based reality television show.

After the program aired, a group of residents, including local business owner Doug Matlick, started talking about bringing the slide back to Keokuk.

The local contingent eventually paid half of the transportations costs to do just that, with the television show paying the rest.

The slide has been sitting in storage, though, for months over more safety and liability concerns.

Matlick believes those have been resolved, based on a letter from the city’s insurance company that says it would not approve or deny the re-installation of the slide.

The company did recommend some improvements to make sure the slide is safe.

Matlick says they did not appear to be too difficult, but the improvements will cost money, which is why fundraising will soon get underway.

He says the group delayed fundraising until it was clear the slide can be re-installed.

Matlick says $20,000 - $30,000 could be needed for improvements and to actually purchase the slide, which is still owned by Nels Olson of Wisconsin.

Matlick says one idea is to allow people to vote on which park the slide could be re-installed in, with each vote being $1.

The city has not pledged any money to the project, but several city council members would like to see Keokuk provide the foundation for the slide, once its future location is determined.

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