The “Zoomerrang” slides again: Former Commons playground piece finds new home

A piece of Columbus’ past has found a new home.

Residents who spent hours playing on the indoor playground at the original Commons may remember a yellow spiral slide attached to two red cylinders and a staircase.

Charlie Zupancic, who lives near Morgantown, now owns the set. He bought it in late spring of 2021.

“It was on 135 South sitting along the road for years,” he said.

The woman who owned the equipment agreed to sell it to Zupancic; he did not know her name and never asked. He believes he saw the equipment maybe about four or five miles “south of the junction” but doesn’t know the area very well.

Zupancic bought the equipment because he felt it would be a good addition to his playground. He said it’s there for his grandkids to use, though it took some work to make the set play-worthy again.

“It was in pretty bad shape, so yes, we had to replace some bars, some pipes and stuff — whatever it took to make it safe again,” he said.

He declined to send photographs, as he doesn’t want crowds flocking to the property to see the slide.

In talking about the set, Zupancic noted that it has a “unique slide.”

The history of this particular slide dates back about 30 years.

In March of 1992, city officials said that a new spiral slide would replace fire poles as part of renovations to The Commons playground, with safety being a main priority. The Columbus Parks and Recreation Board approved Taylor Brothers Construction Co.’s bid on renovations in May, contingent on the availability of funds and approval of product liability language in the bid. The project called for partial removal of an existing spiral staircase and fire pole, extensive metal fabrication and installation of a spiral slide.

The slide was installed in such a way that children could access it by climbing part of the way up the spiral staircase in the south cylinder and then taking a bridge over to the slide in the north cylinder.

It was later announced that kids under 12 would have an opportunity to name the slide in a contest sponsored by The Commons Mall, with the winner getting the first ride and other prizes. Out of more than 500 entries, Jonathon Soto, 6, of North Vernon won with “The Zoomerrang” and got the honor of cutting the inaugural ribbon and taking the first trip down the slide. He also received a package of gift certificates from Commons merchants and a commemorative plaque on the slide.

In early 2008, The Commons Board advertised that surplus property from The Commons and the attached Commons Mall would be auctioned off online via the company Purple Wave in advance of their demolition.

Republic coverage of the event stated that the auction site showed about $26,000 in sales from The Commons auction. One of the highest-dollar items was metal playground equipment with a staircase, which sold for $2,000.

Purple Wave’s website shows that the spiral slide and attached staircase were part of The Commons online auction, though it does not provide the bid amount or purchaser. It actually states “sold in Manhattan, Kansas for $0.” Manhattan is where the auction company is headquartered. According to Vice President of Marketing David Brotton, the company’s system was upgraded in about 2008 or 2009 and this “did not carry forward any of the results on the items for the website.”