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Belle Isle giant slide set to reopen this summer with new safety improvements

Posted at 11:22 AM, May 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-14 23:29:08-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The now-famous giant slide on Belle Isle is set to reopen this summer with new safety improvements.

During a presentation in front of city council on Tuesday, officials say that they are replacing some padding at the slide and making improvements, so people don't hit the side rails.

The slide reopened in August 2022 after repairs were made, and after videos showed riders going down the slide, flying and literally catching air.

Watch videos from 2022 of the giant slide below:

Belle Isle closes giant slide over speed issues
Riders experience a much smoother ride as the Giant Slide reopens on Belle Isle
High speeds had children airborne on giant Belle Isle slide

It was then shut down again, so the Michigan Department of Natural Resources could make adjustments, which included removing most of the wax.

The slide had been in operation for six years, according to the DNR, and had over 30,000 people go down it without injury.

For Detroiters checking out Belle Isle on Tuesday, their memories of the slide are far from negative. For some, those memories date back decades.

“I've been since I was her size, about 6 years old!” Detroiter Judy Kelly said.

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Judy Kelly of Detroit talks about the return of the Belle Isle giant slide. (May 14, 2024)

“I haven't been on the slide since I was like 9,” Detroiter Iesha Bassett said.
“I want to get the babies acclimated to it because I grew up on it," Detroiter Cresentina Groce said. "Like Boblo, Edgewater, Giant Slide.”

Surrounded by her grandkids, Cesentina Groce is at Belle Isle often.

Screenshot 2024-05-14 at 11.25.03 PM.png
Detroiter Cresentina Groce talks about the giant slide at Belle Isle alongside her grandchildren. (May 14, 2024)

“We're out here every week," Groce said. "I just love it, being by the water.”

The park is a family destination, with the slide like a right of passage.

"That's the deal right there, the giant slide," Groce said. "Once you've done that, you're good.”

The DNR says the dangerous rides in 2022 were caused by too much wax, which was then removed and the slide reopened that year. However, before it opens this year, safety enhancements are being made to the guard rails and new, updated padding will be installed at the bottom.

Hear from the Michigan DNR district supervisor about what's next for the iconic slide below:

Belle Isle giant slide set to reopen this summer with new safety improvements

“It's about memories," Michigan DNR Parks and Rec Supervisor Tom Bissett said. "It's about people being able to come to Belle Isle and enjoy the same thing their parents or their grandparents may have enjoyed and to make those lifelong memories.”

“I'm excited but also nervous because the last time I was on that, I burned myself pretty bad,” Bassett said

Despite a little pain in the past, those who grew up with the slide are ready for a comeback, introducing the next generation to their memories of summer in Detroit.

Screenshot 2024-05-14 at 11.25.54 PM.png
Iesha Bassett talks about the giant slide at Belle Isle. (May 14, 2024)

"It means everything," Bassett said of recreating the memories for her son. "Coming down here as a kid, we had so much fun going — fishing, going to the beach and now you get to share those things with your child. It’s pretty great.”

A date for reopening has not been announced.