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Venice zip line closes to mixed reviews, uncertain future

September 20, 2013|By Matt Stevens
  • A man rides down a zip line in Venice on a warm Friday afternoon.
A man rides down a zip line in Venice on a warm Friday afternoon. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

It took more than two years from conception to launch. It cleared councils, commissions and even withstood an appeal. And now, after less than two months in operation, the Venice zip line is packing up shop.

Earlier this week, the company that operates the zip line announced it would close the attraction and begin tearing it down in time to be off the beach entirely by Oct. 1.

The controversial project sent riders zipping over Windward Park from July 22 until the end came Monday. Though operators had hoped to have it open July 1, the project was delayed in part by a Venice resident’s appeal.

The resident, Gail Rogers, was among a group of locals that saw the zip line as another example of the commercialization of their bohemian beach town.

The attraction brought in about $45,000 over six weeks for the city Department of Recreation and Parks, according to a preliminary report from the Venice Neighborhood Council. Much of that revenue will flow back into Venice Beach Park, said Marc Saltzberg, vice president of the neighborhood council.  

People took more than 8,300 rides over the six-week period, the report said. Data for the first two weeks of September was unavailable.

Saltzberg said a full review of the zip line is planned for sometime in the fall, but so far, the response from riders seems mixed.

“In general I have not heard a lot of comments one way or another saying I love it or I hate it,” he said, noting kids seemed to find it more exhilarating than adults.

Saltzberg said that if the city or the neighborhood council considers renewing the zip line, officials would probably push for a longer period of operation to make all the prep work worth it.

The neighborhood council’s report suggests any new zip line contract call for three to five years of operation with 12 to 24 months of lead time to advertise and receive bids.  

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Twitter: @MattStevensLAT

matt.stevens@latimes.com


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