Grand Rapids Public Museum lets go of zipline


A proposed zipline across the Grand River would require construction of a five-story, 75-foot tower. Courtesy Zip the Grand

Officials at the Grand Rapids Public Museum said “no” on Tuesday to having the starting point for a proposed zipline across the Grand River on its grounds.

Jarl Brey and Jane Timmer, partners in Zip the Grand, wanted to begin the 800-foot run on museum property — on the river’s east bank and then end on a city-owned parcel across the river.

The pair plans to invest $2 million into the project, which also includes a ropes-challenge course.

“Despite our goal to locate Zip the Grand on the grounds of the Grand Rapids Public Museum, we were disappointed to learn today that the museum leadership has decided to go in a different direction," Brey said. "We appreciate the time and effort put forth by Tom Bantle, director of events, and Dale Robertson, executive director, in consideration of our proposal."

Zipline sites

“Although it is a bit of a setback, we’re confident that a champion will emerge from the many conversations we have had with business leaders and property owners along the Grand River,” he added.

Brey also said city officials remain open to the development and have expressed support for it.

“We are actively pursuing other viable sites along the Grand River in an effort to be the first zipline and ropes course to cross a major urban waterway in the Midwest,” he said.

Education partners

Brey also mentioned that he and Timmer are working with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and Grand Rapids Public Schools on adding an educational component to the development, which he said would enhance the city’s summer recreational program.


Jim Ligget, who owns Ropes Courses in Allegan, is designing the development for Brey and Timmer.

Ligget has a solid reputation for designing ziplines, having done so in the Mall of America, Scotland, Dubai and Shanghai, among other locations.

“Our primary goal with regards to location is that it be extremely visible and accessible from downtown Grand Rapids,” said Brey. “It is our hope that Zip the Grand will further enhance the overwhelming excitement centered around the Grand River restoration initiative.”

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