The owner of an inflatable-amusement center says he plans to reopen the business next month after spending more than $20,000 on padded carpet and other improvements.
Pure Entertainment, which had its portable-amusement license suspended for 90 days by the city in May, was the site of a 5-year-old boy's fatal fall from an inflatable ride earlier this year.
"We're trying to move forward and be positive," said Duane Zogleman, owner of Moonwalks For Fun Inc. The company owns the inflatable rides operated by Pure Entertainment.
"The city of Wichita doesn't have anything for kids to do, and we're trying to do something.... I whole-heartedly believe in what we're doing. I believe from the bottom of my heart that this is a wonderful thing."
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Zogleman said he plans to reopen the indoor playground for children's parties, special events and general-admission "open bounce" sessions Oct. 7. His son, Jesse Zogleman, will continue to manage daily operations.
Pure Entertainment opened in November 2009 at the former BK Tennis Academy building near Kellogg and Tyler Road. The play center is launching a "Safety First" campaign with its reopening.
Crews have installed 2-inch foam padding and carpet in the play area. Rides have been inspected and licensed according to new, stricter city guidelines, and employees have received additional training on ride operation and safety, Duane Zogleman said.
"We could have gone back in and opened up and not done anything different, but we want to be the leaders in the industry," he said.
He said Pure Entertainment's prices will remain the same, and the complex will honor discount passes and memberships purchased before the closing. A new "Just Give" program will pass along 5 percent of profits to the nonprofits chosen by customers, Zogleman added.
"This is not a matter of money. It's more about doing it right and providing something the community needs and patrons really enjoy," he said.
Moonwalks For Fun is facing a civil lawsuit filed by the mother of 5-year-old Matthew Branham, who died in March after hitting his head on a concrete floor.
Todd Shadid, the family's attorney, declined to comment on the facility's reopening. "Curious as to why they added padding now rather than before," he said in an e-mail.
Duane Zogleman has said since the March incident that the boy's death was the result of family members misusing equipment. The subsequent license suspension was issued after police and city officials found that he had violated a city ordinance by not having his rides properly inspected.
"We've been beaten up and beaten up over this, and we just want to move forward," he said.