Sandcastle Reopens After Flash Flooding Causes Rare Summer Closure

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Regulars were waiting outside the entrance for Sandcastle Waterpark to reopen Tuesday, after being closed for nine days in the heart of their season.

The reason why – mud, debris and trash came pouring into the park when the Monongahela River flooded on July 29.

Donna Sammel comes almost every day.

“I couldn’t believe how bad it was. I hear some people were mad at Sandcastle over it, but hey, it was nature. You know they couldn’t help it,” she said.

Sandcastle couldn’t help what happened, but one thing they could help – how they handled the situation.

Maintenance and cleanup crews, along with lifeguards and ticket takers worked hard to scrub, hose, shovel and clean up the park that was quite simply covered in mud.

Damian Dondero, the park’s general manager, acknowledged the flooding was a setback.

“We’re a seasonal business and we only have so many days to be open, so to lose days was unfortunate,” he said.

But that’s the past.

Just before 11 a.m. Tuesday, workers were still putting the last chairs into place and making sure all the lose trash had been collected. Then, the gates opened up and the regulars who use this park, sometimes daily, came back.

The kids waiting to get in were excited.

One boy from Duquesne said simply, “It’s awesome.”

All over the lower level of the park, visitors could still see the flood water marks, but the decks and chairs were all hosed and cleaned.

Dondero said the saddest part was the public didn’t get to use the facilities.

“It was definitely heartbreaking because we lost the opportunity for our guests to enjoy the water park,” he said.

But the swimmers are making up for it now. And there is still a lot of time left in the season. Sandcastle will be open daily until Aug. 20, and then weekends after that.

Right now, everything at the park is open except the Lazy River. It’s almost ready, but not quite. The hope is it too will be open by week’s end.

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