Popular Slide Will Be Removed From Rumsey

Meeting safety standards is biggest concern

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Seven-year-old Rachel Wright and her mother ReAnn Wright share a common affection for the old rocket slide at Rumsey Park.

Rachel and her neighborhood friends Risa and Randy pretend they are astronauts when playing on the slide.

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Rebecca Shillingburg climbs up the slide in an attempt to get her friend Marcus Schultz, left, and her younger brother Caleb to follow her and her dad down the slide. No such luck. The action took place Saturday, July 21 in Rumsey Park just before the rain came down. The Shillingburgs and Schultz are from Mesa.

"Sometimes we pretend we are in space, driving the rocket ship," Rachel said.

ReAnn grew up in Ojai, Calif., and remembers playing on a similar slide in her childhood.

"Slides today are too small," she said. "The rocket has a real slide."

Unfortunately for the mother-daughter duo, fond memories will soon be all that remains of the beloved playground fixture.

The giant metal, rocket-shaped slide near the softball fields at Rumsey has completed its mission--bringing smiles to the faces of parkgoers for nearly 30 years.

The slide will soon be taken down because of safety concerns, said Rick Manchester, Director of Payson Parks and Recreation.

Manchester said that the slide has been a part of the playground for the last 30 years, but no longer meets safety standards.

"It's too tall," he said. "It doesn't have a fall zone."

The Parks and Recreation Department just added new "traditional" playground equipment near the tennis courts, including an 8-foot rock-climbing wall.

"It's primarily modernizing the equipment," Manchester said. "(Playground equipment manufacturers) are going away from the tall ones now."

Rachel said that despite the new playground additions at Rumsey, she still loves the slide the best.

"It's my favorite place to play," she said. "Kids my age and my size and all the kids bigger than me just like the rocket ship."

The slide was given to the town of Payson as a hand-me-down, Manchester said, although he didn't know from where the town received it.

"The town was already facing a liability with it being used," he added.

Also contributing to this story was Roundup staff reporter Carol La Valley.

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