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Venice Zip Line Approved

A zip line will be installed this summer across the Venice Beach Recreation Center.

A zip line will zoom visitors and residents high above Venice Beach this summer, as the project cleared its final bureaucratic hurdle on Thursday.

After months of public debate and planning, the California Coastal Commission on Thursday voted 7-4 in favor of a 3-month temporary installation of two towers at the Venice Beach Recreation Center. The coastal permit will expire at the end of the pilot program – June, July and August – and cannot be renewed. Organizers will need to remove the structure and then apply for a separate permit if enough community support exists to keep the attraction as a permanent fixture in Venice.

The 46-foot high tower will be situated next to the skate park and a zip line will move riders 750 feet over Windward Plaza to a 24-foot tower just west of 17th Avenue. 

Rides will cost $20 and the zip line will be open from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m for children’s educational programs, and from 11 a.m. to sunset for the general public. 

“We think it’s going to be a fun and interesting activity,” said Kevin Regan, assistant general manger at the Parks and Recreation Department. “And it’s not just a ride, we will have recreational activities, acrobatics classes, kids’ camps, public art projects and free performances about three times throughout the summer.”

And Regan said the city will hire local artists to decorate panels on the side of the towers.

City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, the Venice Neighborhood Council and the Parks and Recreation Department all favor the project as two-thirds of the estimated $150,000 revenue during the pilot period will be transferred to city coffers and used for bathroom maintenance and trash pick-up at Venice Beach.

Rosendahl said the zip line installation is a win-win-win for the public, the community and for the city, and stressed that after three months, the towers will be removed.

Some residents however are skeptical about the project’s supposed temporary existence, pointing out that the attraction could easily become a permanent staple at the beach. 

VNC council member and resident Ira Koslow told California coastal commissioners that the zip line changes the whole nature of Venice Beach and fears that if the project is successful, officials may not hesitate to keep the structure for good.

Walk-street Venice resident Gail Rogers argues that the project will adversely impact traffic, parking, obstruct ocean views and commercialize Venice Beach.

“It is the city’s responsibility to keep our park clean without us having to make deals that comprise the lifestyle of residents,” she said.

Although the zip-line proprietor, Ian Green of Greenheart Conservation Company, will need to dismantle the two structures at the end of the three-month pilot program, he can apply for a new permit, one which some residents presume could be granted if the project is successful.  

“Like any trial, I hope we are not guilty until the trial is over,” Green said. “We are listening to the community. We intend to be very responsible and engage the community.”

Rosendahl praised public-private partnership in dire economic times as a way to raise funds for much needed services. The Parks and Recreation Department is mandated to generate $30 to $40 million of its annual $185 million budget, and deals such as the zip-line, have become a means to meet budget shortfalls.

Jacqueline White February 12, 2013 at 02:17 AM
Wait a minute Gene --I just don't know if I get it --what's so "negative" about being FOR THE PEOPLE as the reason to come to Venice Beach? If you're for valuing the diversity of the people who come here --over just "de-valuing" it as a place for the City, instead --to simply pull another $20 out of people's pockets? That's "negative?" Putting more value in people --than in their money --that's "negative"? Look at the "Zip Line" plan on the Coastal Commission website. It'll totally be covering the largest green area that is now just there for picnicing and gathering. From one end of this open greenspace to the other. Everybody who goes there to relax by the beach on some grass (currently one of the most peaceful parts of that beach) will soon sit there only to endure more screaming overhead. And from people with $20 to throw away. Why didn't they put it over empty sand? Because they especially just want to displace the poor, and the dis-enfanchised youth --the lower working class who currently come there and just sit on that grass. And enjoy each other's company in a public setting. The city and developers want crowd them out --with folks ready to plunk down $20 bucks. The Zip Line would be better at Santa Monica Pier. Where they already have an Amusement Park. But they want all poor out of Venice --to displace them with people with more money. This is an attack against any poor people hanging out at the beach. And not "cool."
Val Streit February 12, 2013 at 02:55 AM
Do they really think this is going to work?
Gene February 12, 2013 at 05:26 PM
Hi Jacqueline, I guess you and I have different views of Venice beach and I don't see it as that tranquil of a place. That said, I do agree with you and that a better placement would be over empty sand, but overall I'm still for this going through, at least for this trial period. Yes, it'll be a little more noise but compared to other business ideas, this has a relatively light environmental impact. Regarding the $20/person fee, ya that's a little steep, but supply and demand rules... If no one pays it then they'll be forced to lower it, but when it comes down to it, it's a business and a business' goal is to make money. Last but not least, but have you ever done one of these before? They are a lot of fun! Overall, I just think that this is an idea worth giving a shot, and you're only committed to a trial period. If it doesn't work, or there are changes/learnings to be made, then they can be addressed at the end of the trial run. -Gene
Jacqueline White February 16, 2013 at 03:52 AM
Gene, the scammers pushing this thing should give you a commission: 1.You agree that it's the wrong place to put it over the greenspace; but want to do it anyway. 2. You admit that the revenue projections are rediculous --meaning that you recognize that the promoters claiming that it'll bring money to the city are lying; since the first thing tha'll be cut when those ticket prices are lowered to reality will be the city's share. 3. You correctly point out that the bottom line of the Zip-Line is that it is a business out to make a buck by prizatizing an area of a currently public park; and call this "fun." 4. I suggest you go out to that large grassy area now, amidst all the admitted noise of Venice this grassy plaza IS still one of most tranquil places left to sit and picnic. Gene, then go home, write the city --and after this "trial" is over, insist that the Coastal Commission string the Zip Line over your own house --since you love it so much more than the things on Venice Beach that now do make it so unique. And that this mis-begotten zip-line will crowd out.
Duke Rendell June 12, 2013 at 08:29 PM
"Commercialize" Venice Beach lol

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