|Thanks to the efforts of John and Lauren Cory who lost their 6-year old son Ethan last July in a drowning at the Swimmin' Hole, legislation has been passed by the Missouri General Assembly to address liability issues for private water parks outside of the city limits. The Swimmin' Hole had operated on Jaguar Road near the eastern edge of Joplin.
House Bill 1341 sponsored by Rep. Marilyn Ruestman (R-Joplin) and handled in the Senate by Sen. Gary Nodler (R-Joplin), requires water parks to carry insurance in an amount not less than $1,000,000 or be cited for a Class A misdemeanor and be fined $250 per day of violation up to a maximum of $10,000. That insurance companies underwriting these liability policies would then require parks to follow regulated safety precautions was presumed in the enactment.
Gov. Matt Blunt is expected to sign the bill, which contains an emergency clause, potentially applying to water parks as early as summer 2008. However, in Joplin it is not known if any water parks will be in operation.
Legal action in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Corys in civil court against the Swimmin' Hole was stymied when James and Diana Burt, its owners, filed for bankruptcy.