Water Park Ready To Dive Into New Season

"Hey! Are you okay," Jessica Walters asked a young man, pretending to be hurt. "He's unresponsive. You! Call 911 and come back!"

Jessica underwent a final day of lifeguard training Thursday, so she can be prepared for any emergency.

"Check your pulse," Jessica ordered a fellow lifeguard.

Jessica is getting ready to kick off the second season at the Gulf Islands Water Park in Gulfport .

"I think it's a good place for kids to go to have fun, and to get away from everything that's happened," Walters said.

Before the fun can begin, the pools must be cleaned, the grates installed, and the water turned on. Park executive Tom South watched anxiously as his crews checked every piece of equipment.

"What a great feeling to turn it on for the first time and see it work without major glitches at all," said CFO Tom South. "We were excited."

South is also relieved that Katrina spared the park any serious damage. The damage was so minor, officials say they easily could have reopened last year. But right after the storm, FEMA took over the park and converted it into a command post, forcing the park to close for the rest of the season.

"This year, the big news is we're open and we didn't sustain a great deal of damage," said South. "We're open and we're ready to give the citizens of the Gulf Coast a little respite and a little relief and some enjoyment."

The city of Gulfport makes money by leasing the Sportsplex and by getting $3.00 for every ticket sold. Last year, the city collected $134,000 from the park.

The gates open Friday at 10 AM, and the park will be open on weekends only until mid-May.