Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Questions about Ropes Course in Byrd Pk.

Today children who live near Byrd Park -- or near Carytown, or in the Museum District, or in the Fan District -- are a few minutes bike ride from an undisturbed, naturally wooded area in which to play and learn. They can walk through the quiet woods and see the animals that call that part of town home. Soon, that may be changing.

And, now some questions:

While the public -- including Carillon/Byrd Park area residents -- first learned of the project last month from a newspaper article, is it true that City of Richmond officials have been working with Go Ape for almost a year on developing a ropes adventure course in Byrd Park?

Who initiated the contact between The City and Go Ape that has had them working together behind closed doors? City officials? Go Ape? Or a go-between?

With Mayor Dwight Jones talking about allowing sunlight into how his administration operates, why has the public been kept in the dark as the plans solidified?

Why does The City want this project to be shoehorned into the only passive natural area left in Byrd Park? Who decided this project would be better suited in undeveloped public land in the middle of town, rather than in a county or state park, or on private land?

If there are over a hundred zip line courses now operating in the USA, why is Richmond seemingly committed to Go Ape, a British company?

What has The City done to evaluate other ropes theme parks in America to see how many are on private land verses public land, and how those arrangements have worked, so far?

Note: Apparently, Go Ape will form/has formed a separate company to conduct its business here. That company, Adventure Forest, LLC, will be/is a limited liability entity, putting only its assets in the USA at risk. On top of that, Adventure Forest might not be responsible for construction liability, because another company, Altus Outdoor Concept (from France), would actually build the ropes course.

So, if there is a terrible accident, who would the City of Richmond expect to have enough liability insurance to pay damages, so it would not have to pony up? Would it be Adventure Forest, LLC, in the USA? Go Ape in Britain? Altus Outdoor Concept in France?

Should there be a catastrophic accident, who really thinks a competent personal injury lawyer working for one of the injured parties would not name all of those players as defendants -- including the City of Richmond, with its deep pockets -- in a law suit?

With the ropes adventure course installed in the Byrd Park, other than a huge liability potential, what will Richmonders have gained? What will they have lost?

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Jim said...

Nice conspiracy theory. Maybe the Men In Black are responsible. I did see some helicopters in that area recently.

F.T. Rea said...

Those questions were prompted by recent conversations I've had with a few regular users of that part of Byrd Park. The questions seem reasonable to me. While they imply no conspiracy, why wouldn't city officials want to answer them to make the record clear?