Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

North Park Treetop Course in Works

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

North Park Treetop Course in Works

Article excerpt

North Park soon may have a new treetop course -- a series of zip lines, rope ladders, tarzan swings and tree stands -- that could develop into a regional attraction.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has asked county council to approve a 10-year contract with Go Ape to develop a course as a way to improve the use of the park and generate some revenue.

Go Ape has developed three similar courses since it moved to this country in 2010, but its parent company has been operating in the United Kingdom since 2002.

Dan D'Agostino, USA managing director of Go Ape, said if council approves the project, the course could open this season. He said the company hasn't developed a design for the North Park course yet, but a course typically includes a series of zip lines, rope ladders and swings that can be used by normally healthy visitors from 10 to more than 90 years old.

"Each one of our courses is a custom design because of the different characteristics of each park," he said. "The course in North Park would be unique because it has a different terrain and different trees than the other sites.

"It's a gorgeous, gorgeous park. We've walked the trees a bit and we have some ideas, but we're waiting for approval before we move ahead with a design."

The proposed agreement with Go Ape calls for the course to be located between Pearce Mill Road and the tennis courts to the east of the boathouse. Although part of a course could go over water, such as North Park Lake, Mr. D'Agostino said there are no plans to do that.

"We want to create something that would fit seamlessly within what's already there and there are so many things going on around the lake that we won't go there," he said.

The deal calls for a 10-year contract with two five-year extensions, with the county receiving $20,000 the first year and increasing to $40,500 by the fifth year. …

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