By Gary Walker
A zipline ride temporarily installed at Venice Beach this summer brought in revenue to support Ocean Front Walk maintenance, but it remains unclear whether officials would consider a similar attraction next year.
The zipline, which spanned 750 feet along the beach from a 50-foot launch tower to a 30-foot landing tower near 17th Avenue, raised about $50,000 for city coffers from mid-July to Labor Day, said Los Angeles Dept. of Recreation and Parks Supt. Charles Singer.
“About half of that went into a special account for maintenance operations and the cleaning of restrooms on the boardwalk during the summer,” Singer said.
Remaining proceeds, he said, will be used for cleaning and maintenance during next year’s summer tourist season.
Artwork that decorated towers was auctioned off to benefit the local Boys & Girls Club.
Delays in launching the zipline left it operating for less than 70 days, and Singer said officials are noncommittal to the notion of its return or the installation of another revenue generating attraction in 2014.
Greenheart Conservation Company / Flightlinez, a Canadian company that designs, builds and operates conservation-based canopy walkways, proposed the project last year and was granted a project trial period of up to 80 days by the California Coastal Commission.
Greenheart President Ian Green declined to comment for this story.
The zipline was championed by former Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl as a creative revenue source for the upkeep of the Venice Beach and an entertainment attraction for tourists and residents alike, cut not everyone in Venice was sold on the idea.
The Venice Neighborhood Council approved a motion endorsing the zipline pilot program by a slight margin of 8-6, with three abstentions.
Gail Rodgers, a 40-year resident of Venice Beach, filed a formal appeal of its approval.
“It’s the responsibility of Recreation and Parks to keep our park clean without making deals that compromise the lifestyle and integrity of residents,” said Rodgers, a retired Los Angeles Unified School District teacher who lives a block away from the boardwalk on Park Avenue.
“Parks are a core city service and they do not exist to generate revenue. Several Venice residents have expressed strong views about the boardwalk and preserving its organic and eclectic culture,” Rodgers said.
Venice residents have been unwilling to support other concepts to raise funds for beach maintenance.
A 2011 proposal by the Los Angeles Parks Foundation to allow corporate on boardwalk restrooms, bleachers and trash cans drew a wave of opposition, and a three year plan to install a large observation wheel near the boardwalk was scrubbed after residents voiced concerns about parking and traffic.
Venice zipline’s future unclear: The controversial summer attraction raised money for beach upkeep but may be the last attraction of its kind
By Gary Walker