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Zip line across Cedar River off for now

Attraction pushed to spring 2019, GO Cedar Rapids says

The Cedar River by the Lion Bridge in the Czech Village neighborhood of Cedar Rapids on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. The zip line was proposed to be built near this location. (Liz Zabel/The Gazette)
The Cedar River by the Lion Bridge in the Czech Village neighborhood of Cedar Rapids on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. The zip line was proposed to be built near this location. (Liz Zabel/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Plans to launch a zip line attraction across the Cedar River this summer are on hold for a season after obstacles delayed it.

GO Cedar Rapids instead aims to launch the 1,000-foot-long line, dubbed the Cedar Screamer, in spring 2019.

“It became untenable and unrealistic to make it happen this year,” GO Cedar Rapids President and Chief Executive Officer Aaron McCreight said Tuesday. “At some point, it’s for the betterment of all parties that we make the decision and we have reached that point.

The tourism and convention organization was forced to reboot planning in February after the original contractor “got too busy” and opted out. GO Cedar Rapids found another zip line provider, but came up with an entirely different project.

“We were running out of days but unfortunately the calendar didn’t stop turning,” McCreight said.

Building the temporary zip line would have taken a month “on the short side,” and, most likely, up to six weeks to complete the placement of the line, finish safety checks and train staff. The shortened calendar meant there wasn’t enough operational time to make the zip line financially viable.

When built, riders would launch on the north side of the 16th Avenue SE bridge and land at the northeast corner of the National Czech & Slovak Museum.

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“We didn’t want to shortchange the experience,” McCreight said, adding the decision to postpone wasn’t entirely financial. “The silver lining I see is that we’ve got a truly great team in place on this thing and the time will help us make sure this thing works.”

The decision to postpone the zip line is separate from the inaugural newbo evolve festival centered in the same area, McCreight said. The first-year event scheduled for Aug. 3-5 remains on track, he said.

The festival includes musicians Maroon 5 and Kelly Clarkson and a variety of speakers.

“This doesn’t impact newbo evolve at all — it’s completely separate,” McCreight said. “It’s absolutely happening, the talent is coming and there will be all sorts of eyes on Cedar Rapids.”

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