Louisville, Kentucky has asked its residents for help in determining the future vision for the city, and citizens sent in thousands of ideas on how to improve Possibility City. Among the crowd-sourced suggestions were many promoting alternative transportation, whether improving bike infrastructure to building light rail to, well, even more alternative methods of getting around. Local Russ Renbarger proposed what he calls RiverZips, a mile-long zip line across the Ohio River that would convey people between Kentucky and Indiana—more of a ride than an adventure, says Insider Louisville. Renbarger is founder of digital marketing firm Red Tag Ideas, based in the city’s suburban East End. It sounds far-fetched, but a recent municipal push to liven up Louisville could be just what his idea needs. The plan calls for attaching the zip line high atop a railroad-bridge-turned-pedestrian-bridge that connects downtown Jeffersonville, Indiana with Louisville's Hargreaves-designed Waterfront Park. Riders would land in a staging area in the park near the base of the Big Four Bridge. Mayor Greg Fischer called ziplines “far-out” while he unveiled citizens’ ideas for the Vision Louisville project, in comparison to more practical plans to revitalize the city, like more bike lanes. There are some logistical difficulties to the RiverZips proposal: the heads of the Louisville Waterfront Development Corporation worried it would sit idle in the winter, and perhaps be “too obtrusive” at other times. Renbarger said the launch platforms could be removed, if necessary, and that a nearby iceskating rink could use the site’s base for vending during the winter. A former member of the Army Corps of Engineers, Renbarger says the 1-mile zipline is plausible. For now, though, the idea remains unfunded. But Renbarger, a “man about town” who appeared on the reality TV show "Southern Belles: Louisville," has people talking.
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If all goes well, Venice Beach’s latest attraction could be you, screaming in delight across a 600-foot long zipline. In consideration since May, a proposal to build a temporary zipline by the beach has been slowly making its way through the public process. As proposed, the zipline would be in place for a three-month trial period. Operated by Canada-based Greenheart Conservation Company, the zipline could potentially generate revenue for the city. Part of the profits would go toward improving maintenance in public restrooms and trash clean up along the boardwalk. The zipline structure was developed specifically for hard-to-reach places, according to Greenheart Conservation Company co-founder Ian Green. Because the company usually works in remote, natural habitats like the Belize rainforest or the Amazon forest in Peru, the company had to develop a lightweight system that could easily be built without using heavy machinery to haul in the structure. As a result, the company designed an aluminum truss system where a single person could carry each piece through thick forests. In the Venice iteration, local artists would be tapped to contribute art printed on four to six mesh canvases surrounding the launch and receiving towers respectively. According to Green, the attraction would also host public arts performances, similar to what the company has done at the 2011 Burning Man Festival, where acrobatic arts performers were suspended over the gawking public. The company also plans to open its doors to nearby school children, offering aerial acrobatics classes or, at the very least, a chance to ride the zipline. While the proposal has its supporters, some detractors worry about the additional noise and fuss potentially created by the added attraction. An appeal has been lodged on the city’s approval of the scheme and is awaiting hearing by the Board of Public Works on July 27. Should the zipline pass the hearing, it is still up to the California Coastal Commission to give the final go-ahead during its next monthly meeting in Santa Cruz this August. Disappointed at having missed the summer season due to delays, Green nevertheless remains upbeat. “For now, we just kick back and wait. It’s summertime right? Everyone relaxes.”