Economic Development, Small Business & Startups, and Travel & Tourism

West side ideas jump start Pure Michigan

April 8, 2013
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Recreational river concept zips along
A proposed zipline across the Grand River would require construction of a five-story, 75-foot tower. Courtesy Zip the Grand

Four of the five finalists in the Pure Michigan Jump Start competition live on the west side of the state — and two of the four are from Grand Rapids.

Jarl Brey and Paul Stansbie are the finalists from Grand Rapids.

Mara Mackey lives in Kalamazoo, and Ginger Hentz calls Hastings her home. The fifth finalist, Tim Bannister, hails from Royal Oak.

The competition is part of the Governor’s Conference on Tourism and calls for ideas to help promote what is "possibly, the most underrated state in The Union."

Brey was selected as a finalist for Zip the Grand, the $2-million zipline and rope climb he and his partner, Jane Timmer, want to build along a downtown stretch of the Grand River.

But the projects the other finalists will be presenting are being kept under wraps, as the event’s staff is being tight-lipped about those projects.

Stansbie is the chairman of the Hospitality and Tourism Management Department at Grand Valley State University, and his project is called “Michigan Cares for Tourism.”

The projects submitted by Mackey, Hentz and Bannister also have similar generic titles without descriptions.

When the Business Journal asked for the projects’ details, Kylie Binns, director of operations and events for the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association, said that information would have to wait until the presentations are made.

The finalists will be given about five minutes to talk about their projects at the conference, which will be held in the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center from April 14-16.

The winner will receive $5,000 and will be announced on Tuesday, April 16.

Brey told the Business Journal that he will make his presentation on Sunday, April 14.

As for the zipline, Brey said he and his consultant, Jim Liggett of Ropes Course, recently met with city engineers to discuss the positioning of the project’s 75-foot tower on the river’s east bank.

“We need to take into consideration the existence of a drain pipe which breaks off of the Fulton Street line and into the Grand River,” he said.

Brey, Timmer and Liggett also are staying in contact with officials at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, because they want to start the zipline on property the museum owns and end the ride on a parcel the city owns.

A roundtrip on the zipline across the river would cover about 1,600 feet.

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