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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Splash Down waterpark to remain shuttered as owners look to sell

Erin Carlstrom, 11, of Spokane Valley, flies off the Jet Stream slide at Splash Down in Valley Mission Park on August 12, 2003.  (Holly Pickett/The Spokesman-Review)

Splash Down, the small Spokane Valley water park, will be closed this summer for the third year in a row.

The water park’s owners are asking the Spokane Valley City Council for permission to amend their lease and not reopen in 2022.

For nearly 40 years, Splash Down has been a summertime staple for Spokane Valley families. But since the COVID-19 pandemic, its waterslides have been dry.

In 2020, Splash Down was one of many water parks shut down by Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 orders. Last year, the Bleasner family said they’d lose money if they reopened under the state’s ongoing pandemic restrictions.

This summer, Splash Down’s staying down for two reasons.

Vandals have damaged the property and the facility needs significant repairs before reopening.

Plus, the Bleasner family wants to get out of the water park business.

Bill and Ruth Bleasner opened Splash Down in 1983. They sold it in the mid-2000s and reacquired it in 2018, but both Bill and Ruth have passed away in the last two years.

The Bleasner’s children are trying to sell.

“The Estate does not have time or money to open and run the business,” Splash Down trustee Jim Greenup wrote in a text.

In most situations, a private business wanting to stay closed wouldn’t be the Spokane Valley City Council’s concern.

But Splash Down has a somewhat unusual ownership structure.

The water park’s slides and equipment belong to the Bleasners.

The land Splash Down sits on, next to Valley Mission Park along Interstate 90, belongs to Spokane Valley.

When Splash Down’s open, the owners pay the city a $15,000 annual lease.

In 2021, the City Council granted the Bleasner’s request to stay closed. The City Council will likely amend the lease again this year.

Greenup said he thinks the ideal Splash Down owner would be a family with teenage kids.

The children could make money by helping to run the water park during the summer, he said.

“It could be purchased very reasonably, but an investor would need to make certain upgrades, repair some vandalism and have some working capital,” Greenup said. “Somebody could make something of it if they were determined.”