Construction continues at Chilli Bay, Chillicothe's new water park which will be opened this summer, and the latest feature to be added to the park will be a family water slide.

Chillicothe City Council members, during their regular meeting Monday evening in the council chambers at City Hall, voted 3-2 in favor of a change order to include the slide.

The family slide was part of the original bid as an alternate feature, to be added only if funds allowed.

"At the time, we didn't know how much it would cost for the issuance of bonds, nor the interest rate," said City Administrator Ike Holland. "...but we got a good interest rate and kept the costs down on the issuance."

The water park is a $4.2 million project by the city which will be paid for through an existing capital improvements sales tax. Adding the slide costs $59,000, but with its inclusion, the project remains within the budgeted $4.2 million.

There had been some discussion about installing pipes that could accommodate the family slide if the city decided to add that feature in the future. However, it was noted during the meeting that it would be more expensive to add the slide at a later date.

Administrator Holland recommended the addition now.

"It is one more thing that could attract people from surrounding communities," he said.

Second Ward Councilman Wayne Cunningham advocated a more conservative approach by not adding the family slide at this time. He noted a weakened economy and concern that sales tax revenues may not come in as anticipated. Cunningham and 4th Ward Councilwoman Pam Jarding voting against the addition.

The capital improvements sales tax fund generates around $800,000 a year. Through the financing package already approved for the project, the city will be paying around $500,000 a year for seven years.

Chilli Bay Water Park is anticipated to be a recreation destination and will feature a concessions area, a children's area (equipped with a water playground apparatus with slide and sprays), an area of pop-up sprays, a family slide, a teen area (with basketball, log roll, rock wall, two diving boards and a swimming area), a general slide (tube slide), a lazy river (with a connecting slide), a Tiki cabana area (available for party rental), a renovated bath house, a manager's office, a lifeguard locker room, and family changing room.