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Awesome vision for city proposed

| Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, 12:02 a.m.
ZipPitt proposes building a zipline over the Ohio River like this 3,083-foot one on Nami Island in South Korea built by Utah-based ZipRider. ZipRider

Taking a leisurely ride on the incline up to Mt. Washington for a bird's-eye view of the city's skyline is a must for visitors to Pittsburgh.

But a Carnegie man wants to create a significantly more exciting way for people to come down from the mountain.

Adam Young, 30, has proposed building a set of four ziplines running from Mt. Washington to the North Shore.

Young, who has a degree in logistics management and is working on a master's degree in business administration, said he came up with the idea while standing on an observation deck on Mt. Washington.

“I just thought a zipline would be another great attraction for people who visit Pittsburgh, as well as a way to get people who already live here to go back and visit Mt. Washington,” he said.

Young's company, ZipPitt, recently received a $1,000 grant from Awesome Pittsburgh — the local chapter of the Awesome Foundation, which is “devoted to forwarding the interest of awesomeness in the universe,” according to its website.

Young's zipline ride involves strapping riders into a seated harness attached to a cable that would plummet about 400 feet as they travel at a top speed of about 50 mph across the Ohio River to a landing platform a half-mile away on the North Shore.

“I want to show the world how Pittsburgh continues to innovate by giving riders a riveting experience,” Young said. “A zipline of this magnitude will immerse people in an unprecedented perspective of Pittsburgh's iconic scenery.”

Young plans to use the grant money to hire a zipline company to conduct a feasibility study for his plan.

One of the companies Young has been in discussion with is ZipRider, based in Park City, Utah.

Sarah Cylvick, one of the owners, said the popularity of ziplines is growing.

“Ski resorts all over the world want them because they can turn their facilities into year-round operations,” said Cylvick, who describes a zipline ride as a “no-sweat adrenaline rush.”“Taking a ride on one of our ziplines is a completely safe way to get the thrill of a lifetime,” she said.

Young estimates the project will cost between $2 million and $3 million and take about two years to complete.

City Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith, who represents Mt. Washington, said while Young's idea “sounds exciting and interesting,” she sees a number of hurdles that must be overcome.

“In addition to things like rights of way over the river, permits, parking and insurance, the biggest thing in my mind is what the community wants,” she said. “So there would have to be a great deal of public process for a proposal like this to proceed.”

Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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