An iconic summertime destination in Lake George will be not be opening for its 40th season. Water Slide World, on Route 9 in Lake George, will not open this year after the death of its owner.
An announcement on the park’s voicemail, recorded by Gary’s Koncikowski’s widow, Dawn, shares the news.
“Water Slide World will not be opening for the 2018 summer season due to the sudden death of the creator, builder, owner, and operator for the past 39 years, Gary Koncikowski. Nobody can fill Gary’s sneakers, therefor I will not be opening the park. Thank you for your patronage over the past several years, and goodbye, and God bless.”
Koncikowski died unexpectedly in May at 70.
The news of Koncikowski’s death last month surprised Town of Lake George Supervisor Dennis Dickinson. He said he spoke with Gary and Dawn shortly before Koncikowski’s death.
“He was fine. He mentioned he was having some tests done but he seemed pretty unconcerned. I have to tell you, I was shocked,” said Dickinson.
Dickinson said he first worked with Koncikowski in 1978, when he worked as a surveyor. Water Slide World opened a year later.
He said he knew Gary and Dawn as hard workers, always together.
“You’d see them at the Holiday Inn at night and they’d be there for dinner and they’d be covered in paint, obviously all hot and sweaty – the two of ’em. They both did and they both did it together,” said Dickinson.
Water Slide World had water slides, of course, a wave pool and other amenities that attracted generations summer visitors.
Dickinson believes one of the reasons why the park will remain closed this year is because Gary had held certain certifications to run it.
“The certification requires some education and testing. And it’s involved. And they don’t give the tests all the time. So in order for Dawn to be certified, she couldn’t have been done until mid-to-late August at the earliest. And she decided that she wouldn’t open it,” said Dickinson.
Amanda Metzger, a spokeswoman for the Lake George Chamber of Commerce, called Koncikowski’s death a loss to the community. She said the chamber had not heard whether the park would re-open in the future.
“We are definitely saddened to hear that we may not have this attraction this year or in the future,” said Metzger.
As for now, with school out for the summer, one usual destination is no longer an option.