Feb. 12 2016 06:47 AM

Developer proposes ropes course, zip line in downtown

Image courtesy City of Lansing

FRIDAY, Feb. 12 — Residents and visitors alike may soon have the opportunity to view Lansing’s skyline from a bird’s-eye perspective.

Jarl Brey and Jane Timmer of Capitol Zip have asked the city to approve a 10-year lease for a zip line on park property on the east and west side of the Grand River just north of Saginaw Street. If approved, the company will build a permanent three-story structure to host not only a zip line across the river and back, but a ropes course as well.

Brett Kaschinske, director of Lansing’s Department of Parks and Recreation, told members of the City Council Planning and Development Department Thursday afternoon that he had worked with the company to review possible park locations for the project. He said they had reviewed locations nearer to Old Town and just past Old Town, but had rejected those out of a variety of concerns. The location near Lansing Community College was selected in part because of the high traffic of the area, which might deter people from tampering with the facility when it was not in operation.

Image courtesy City of Lansing

Kaschinske and Brey both trumpeted the project as an add-on to downtown that would encourage more activity, but they also stressed the lease of the park property would provide a new revenue stream for Parks and Recreation.

Brey and Timmer told committee members they expect to donate a portion of gate proceeds to the parks department as well as the Lansing Promise Scholarship. Capitol Zip will cover all insurance liability for the project, which will indemnify the city, company representatives and the city’s law department said.

“We also want to make the ropes course and zip line free for Lansing Public Schools,” Brey said. He and Timmer said they imagined the facility could be used by school officials to “teach leadership” and as a “reward.”

The committee approved a resolution authorizing the lease of the land to the company for the project. It must be approved by Council before it is final. It was approved by the Lansing Parks Board in November. The Planning Board approved the project in early January.

How much Capitol Zip, which is based in Portage, will pay to lease the land on both sides of the river has not yet been determined. City officials said that would be negotiated as part of the final contract. That contract, if under five years in length, will not come back to Council for final approval; but if the term of the lease agreement is longer than five years, City Council will have to approve it.

Brey said he originally tried a similar project in Grand Rapids, but the project fell through when a requirement provided by the city there made it “economically impossible.” He declined to discuss specifically what those requirements were.

Image courtesy City of Lansing