By: Aliya Koshalieva
On Sept. 6, beloved Bay Area water park Raging Waters San Jose announced its permanent closing. In an unexpected move, the park posted a statement on its Facebook account: “Raging Waters San Jose is closed for the season and will not be reopening in 2024. We are thankful for the San Jose community and for our outstanding Team Members for helping us bring Northern California’s Largest Water Park to life for nearly four decades. Thank you for all the wonderful memories, San Jose!”
This announcement comes a year after the closing of the Raging Waters in Sacramento. Following San Jose’s announcement, Park officials placed closed signs near the front. In an official statement, they said, “As part of normal business practice, we continue to evaluate our portfolio each year. After this evaluation, we have decided to not renew our land lease with the City of San Jose.”
The surprise statement shocked and devastated the public. A representative from Palace Entertainment, the company that owns Raging Waters, said closing the park was a “business decision.” Several park employees expressed their surprise at the sudden decision, with employee Ronit Prasad saying, “I didn’t really find out through any official channel other than social media…It feels a little sad for the community, if anything. I grew up right across the street. It’s a lot of jobs for a lot of the teenagers around here. Just nice summer time money and a lot of memories.” Prasad has been a lifeguard for the past three years and hoped to come back next summer after the park recently presented him with the Golden Lifeguard award.
However, San Jose City officials claim they expected the park to close in the near future due to declining attendance and less than a year left on the park’s lease. Domingo Candelas, a San Jose City Councilmember expressed optimism, saying, “I think this is an opportunity for us, as a city, to explore an amenity for the residents of our city that can provide entertainment, a place for community-gathering, and a place for our youth, especially in our area, to have jobs,” citing San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan’s announcement that potential investors contacted the city to use the area for recreational purposes, hoping to attract more people to San Jose.
This idea sparked debate, with Kelly Snider, a San Jose State Department of Urban & Regional Planning professor, saying her vision of the park should be something the whole community can enjoy, like a park with pickleball courts or a skatepark. “This is not and should not become an economic development play… Housing is a one-hundred-year decision…a piece of concrete to roller-skate on, that’s a five-year decision. It’s cheap and fast. And we can do it right now,” she stated.
(Sources: NBC Bay Area, KTVU 2, CBS News)
Categories: Local News