Whitewater Center less crowded this holiday weekend, guests say

Whitewater Center on the Fourth of July

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Even with the whitewater activities still suspended, the Fourth of July festivities went on at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.

However, people who have been going there for years - some even since it first opened - say this year's Fourth of July crowd was significantly smaller than in years past.

"There definitely was a smaller crowd yesterday I talked to a couple of their employees about it and told them I was shocked by the number of people that were there," said Brandon Swope.

A spokesman with the U.S. National Whitewater Center tells WBTV an estimated 10,000 people come each day during their annual Fourth of July Celebration. Official numbers for this year are not in yet.

This is the second consecutive weekend since the center suspended whitewater activities.

"The big draw are these whitewater centers. So if those aren't running, I think people are going to look for other things to do," said Chris Morris.

The center voluntarily shut down its whitewater area after water samples tested positive for the same brain-eating amoeba that killed an 18-year old woman who visited the center weeks earlier.

North Carolina lawmakers are looking to make the Whitewater Center safer. On Tuesday, the House approved a law that calls for more regulation. The Senate is holding off on the vote for now.

There's no official timetable when whitewater activities will be cleared to open up again. Morris says he hopes it does not hurt the center too badly.

"These are huge weekends for them. I think the decrease in numbers is going to be really significant."

There will be more Fourth of July festivities Monday at the Whitewater Center.

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