Pikeville officials hope an eight run zip-line fits well into their current efforts to boost tourism dollars in the eastern Kentucky community. It will be situated in the city's Bob Amos Park.
Pikeville Administrator of City Operations Sean Cochran says no public dollars are being spent on the zip-line attraction. "Mr. Nichol will begin construction no later than September first, but maybe a little sooner than that. He's actually working on another zip-line in Russia, so when he finishes that one up, he's coming to Pikeville, and then he's going to China to build the world's largest zip-line there," said Cochran.
Cochran says Universal Zip-line Technology is the world oldest zip-line firm. He says owner Robert Nichol sees the potential for successful business in eastern Kentucky and that's what attracted him to the region. "He's able to leverage that marketing capability where there will be brochures for the Pikeville zip-line in Costa Rico or British Columbia or even Russia for instance. So, you have people who will travel in to these to ride the zip-lines," added Cochran.
While the state doesn't regulate zip-lines, Cochran isn't concerned about the installation and operation. He saysNichol is well-acquainted with safety issues. "And he is also a certified inspector, so not only does he build courses, but he also travels around to inspect other people's courses to give them a pass or fail grade. Also, the great thing about him is he has a spotless safety record," explained Cochran.
Cochran says bringing additional tourism dollars into eastern Kentucky can help buffer the detrimental impacts of coal mining job loss. He admits coal is a part of the past and present economy and will still play a key role in the future.