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Money From Above: Entrepreneurs Pitch Zip Line Over River

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Forget new bike lanes or improving bus service. Two zip line courses, one nearly finished and another still the dream of a Slovenian entrepreneur, could offer new ways to access some of the city's favorite landmarks.

The Metro Richmond Zoo has announced that it soon will open its Treetop Zoofari Zip Line and Adventure Park, promising a two-hour, 3,000-foot zip line course flying visitors over flora and fauna.

A grander plan comes from Attila Takats, owner of Slovenia-based Active Planet, who envisions a course of zip lines spanning the James River.

Marketing director Kern Smith says it would be the longest zip line course on the East Coast: "We want to do something that will grab hold and make people take notice."

Preliminary plans for the course calls for two lines, one beginning at Belle Isle and spanning 1,500 to 2000 feet and the other crossing to Brown's Island.

Smith says Active Planet could have the course ready by March, but approval from the city is pending.

This isn't the first time a private company has attempted to put a zip line on park land owned by the city. Adventure Company Go Ape failed to obtain public support for a proposal to put a course in Byrd Park.

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