Historic Roswell rocket slide to be replaced, repurposed

New Mexico

A piece of Roswell’s history could soon be gone, at least as people know it. The well-known rocket slide that sits at Spring River Park and Zoo was recently closed due to safety concerns, and many people in town who grew up playing on it are upset. 

However, the city says it’s trying to give the slide new life, in a way that makes everyone happy.

“The slide’s been here for even longer than when I was a kid. Me and my older brothers used to slide up every time we could,” said Heather Jones.

The metal slide was built more than 70 years ago. It’s one of only a handful like it left across the world.

Over the years, the city has had to fix it, but decided to close it for good three months ago.

“It’s really hard to repair anymore, but it’s also outside of code,” said City Councilor Jacob Roebuck.

Many people who grew up playing on the slide say it was a key part of their childhood.

“It’s memories. Memories are leaving now,” said Jones.

People like Jones have even brought their own kids to play there.

“I don’t want them to take it down,” said her 9-year-old daughter Kaylee.

City Councilor Jacob Roebuck says it may not be good-bye. The city is doing its best to re-purpose it.

They don’t want it to meet the same fate as other old playground equipment that’s ended up in a graveyard. They’re hoping to spiff it up and put it on display for tourists and residents somewhere in town.

“We want to celebrate what it’s been for the community. Tens, and maybe hundreds of thousands of childhood memories associated with that rocket,” said Roebuck.

They’re also working to find a new rocket to take its place.

Roebuck said that would cost about $85,000, while giving the old slide a make-over would cost about another $30,000.

“It is bittersweet, but I think if we can give it a second life, it really is more of a transition than an ending,” said Roebuck.

Jones said she’s just glad her kids got to experience it too.

“It’s memories they’ll hold, too,” said Jones.

The city says it hopes to have the budgets finalized for both the slides by the new year, and hope to have the new slide up by the summer.

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