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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Zip Line Course Being Considered for Tower Park

Tower Park. FTM file. 
By Jennifer Heindl 

On Monday, Fort Thomas Matters reported plans are already underway for the City of Fort Thomas’ 150 year sesquicentennial celebration July 2-9, 2017. One development that could coincide with those plans is the installation of a zip line and ropes course.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Planning “First-Class” 150 Celebration in 2017 

Debbie Buckley, Fort Thomas Economic Development Director said, “We hope to add a zip line that will be located somewhere inside (Tower) park.” The zip line will “be another tourist attraction and something that we hope can stay permanently but is yet to be determined.”

The suggestion to install a permanent zip line and/or ropes course was first made by Fort Thomas City Councilman Jeff Bezold during a brainstorming session with the City Council, Mayor Eric Haas and City Administrator Ron Dill in December 2015. The goal of the brainstorming session was to work toward a new long-range plan for the City of Fort Thomas. The session netted many ideas, one of which was revitalizing Tower Park and bringing more business retreats to the Community Center (Mess Hall) as a corporate meeting space. Bezold asserted the addition of a zip line and ropes course could add a team-building element desirable for corporate retreats.

Fort Thomas Renaissance Board Chairman, Brian Sand, said, “I would hope the zip line course as well as the other proposals to enhance the park get serious consideration.”

RELATED: Brainstorming Session Could Lead to New Topics For Fort Thomas City Council 

“The idea came to me as I was walking the trails in Tower park with my family,” said Bezold. “The slope, the trees, the staging area by the basket ball courts all had the set up for a great ropes course and zip line layout.”

Bezold participated in a ropes course and zip line track as a part of a team building event a few years ago in Annapolis, MD. The other elements of the event he attended, such as the lodging, meals and meeting space, were all coordinated around the location of the zip line and ropes course. Keeping activity to a particular area supports the economy in that area.

“The addition of the zip line and ropes course could potentially benefit the businesses in Fort Thomas and the meeting space in the Community Center (aka Mess Hall),” said Bezold. “Not to mention a creating employment opportunities for local individuals and a lot of fun for all. The research I have done so far indicates these are a revenue generator for the area and have been successful.”

The development and management of this project will depend on how the details unfold. “We are not far enough into the planning to know if the city will develop and manage, if the project will be completely outsourced with a profit sharing initiative or a combination of the two,” said Bezold.
Ohio River from Fort Thomas. Looking down from Tower Park. FTM file. 
Mayor Haas, Dill and members of the City Council met again in March to revisit the ideas generated at the brainstorming session in December. Next steps were discussed and many of the items were put into categories for short-term or long-term ideas.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Looking Into Creating New Comprehensive Plan

“The timeline of this project is still being discussed,” said Bezold. “I would personally like to see this placed at the top of the list due to the potential this project has.”

Safety surrounding an adventure element such as a zip line or ropes course would be a critical piece of the puzzle concerning long-term use. “The safety and efficiency will be left up to the professionals,” said Bezold. “I'm sure a project of this size, with the potential safety concerns, will be gone over with a fine tooth comb to ensure the best procedures are in place.”

“I think anything that we can do to help make Tower Park better is a good thing. In my opinion we have the chance to make it the signature park in Northern Kentucky,” said Sand


  1. Ugh. Just ugh.

    Conference center? Zip lines & ropes course?
    Seriously? With all the city's issues?

    How about fixing the drainage issues at the park? The fields are a mess with only a little rain. And those "trails" @ Tower? Pretty bad.
    And restore the mess of the "wooded" area - before thinking of turning Tower Park & Ft Thomas into another Dollywood in Tennessee.

    This is so sad.

  2. I love the idea. I had the same thought for tower park. I thought it would utilize the topography if it started somewhere down by the tennis courts and went over the ravine

  3. Booo!!! No zip line. So much nature will be destroyed in building this. The traffic, the vehicles used to transport the customers, and again, nature. The park is beautiful the way it is. The improvements needed inside our park are needed, but a touristy zip line isn't it. Please reconsider this destructive idea.

  4. Love the idea, however, as an attorney I could see the city being pulled into needless litigation. Although rare, zip lines do have a risk of injury. Yes, insurance will provide coverage but the city will be named as a party defendant if a suit is filed. This is true whether a legal basis to do so exists or not. To untie that knot could be costly. This must be kept in mind. But personally I think the benefits outweigh the risks.

  5. There is a better spot on the corner of RT8 & RT1998.....with a lake & plenty of parking