By Greta Cobar
The proposed Ferris Wheel project has been put on hold for at least a year, and a new Zip Line project is going to be proposed by Councilmember Bill Rosendahl at the May 15 Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) meeting.
The Zip Line was first suggested by Kevin Regan, assistant general manager of Recreation and Parks. Rosendahl subsequently called Linda Lucks and asked her to put the proposal on the next VNC meeting agenda.
“If the community is excited and wants it, if the positives outweigh the negatives, I will make the Zip Line a reality for this summer,” Rosendahl said in a phone interview with the Beachhead. When asked what makes him think that Venetians would be supportive of the Zip Line when they proved to be so vehemently against the Ferris Wheel, he re-affirmed his determination to be a “politician that represents the people.”
Parks and Recs needs to self-generate $30 to $40 million of its annual $185 million budget, so it makes perfect sense for Regan to fully endorse the Ferris Wheel and the Zip Line.
Although Great City Attractions declined to state why they were putting their Ferris Wheel project on hold, the UK-based company and its Scottish representatives wanted to jump right in and install the wheel in ten days without realizing that it would take at least a year to go through all the environmental and planning regulations. If we are not careful we will end up with a Zip Line and a Ferris Wheel by next summer.
Rosendahl could not say how long the Zip Line would stay in Venice and did not know the name of the company that would provide such a service. However, he did mention that the Ocean Front Walk bathrooms need to be cleaned and the trash cans need to be emptied more often.
In reality, Regan and his department would have discretion over how the funds are spent. His priority might not even be to have cleaner bathrooms and trash cans, but meeting his norm of money raised. Even worst, the city has a poor history of keeping local the funds generated in Venice.
Los Angeles might get anywhere from 15 to 25 percent of the profits generated by the Zip Line, but what percent of that would actually trickle back down to Venice is unsure at this point. Rosendahl stated that it all depends on negotiations, but was unable to provide specifics. Our beach bathrooms will look as good as the ones in Santa Monica only when we will have city hood as well.
Tens of Venetians spoke loud and clear against the Ferris Wheel project both at the March 5 community meeting and at the April 17 VNC meeting. What makes Rosendahl think that we will have a different attitude towards the Zip Line is elusive.
If you are interested in joining the discussion regarding the Zip Line before the next VNC meeting, please contact the VNC Visitor Impact Committee at [email protected] for time and date of meetings. Otherwise, come out May 15 at Westminster Elementary for the next VNC meeting.