You can now zip to Phenix City — and back.
Really, you can zip across the Chattahoochee River and back thanks to the expansion of zip line that operates in Columbus and Phenix City. Thursday morning the expansion of the zip line that includes small runs along the Alabama riverbank as well as a 1,000-foot run from Phenix City to Columbus opened with a ribbon cutting that drew officials and the curious from both sides of the river.
“People don’t know how blessed and fortunate we are,” Phenix City Mayor Eddie Lowe said. “You can start in one city, in one state and without driving, walking, taking a plane or a train, you can simply glide to another city in another state.”
The zip line expansion was announced late last year and took a little longer than expected to complete. But Thursday everybody was all smiles about the new connection between Columbus and Phenix City.
“This is a little more than a zip line,” said Uptown Columbus Inc. President Ross Horner. “This is a symbolic link between the two communities. And I think you will see them working together more in the future.”
The zip line, which opened in 2014, is owned by Uptown Whitewater Management LLC, the nonprofit organization that manages the 2.5-mile urban rafting course. Whitewater Express, the only outfitter operating on the Chattahoochee, also staffs and manages the zip line.
The existing zip line starts in a riverfront tower just below 11th Street and Bay Avenue in downtown Columbus. There is a shorter zip line that runs south on the Phenix City side. There is also a rope bridge course in the tree tops off the landing tower near the Phenix City Riverwalk.
Plans call for a series of small towers and treetop landing areas to take the zip line along the Phenix City riverbank, across Holland Creek and to a taller tower near the Phenix City Amphitheater, said Dan Gilbert, owner of Whitewater Express.
That tower will be the launch site for the zip line to go back across the river and end at a new tower near the Splash Pad in front of the Whitewater Express Columbus store.
The cost of the addition was about $390,000, said Whitewater Management LLC President Richard Bishop. That drives the cost of the entire project to about $800,000. Whitewater Management LLC paid for the construction, while Whitewater Express funds the project through the fees paid by those who use the zip line.
The cost for doing the zip line varies, Gilbert said. The full loop will be $49.50 Sunday-Friday and $59.50 on Saturday. The original zip line, which does not include the run back to Columbus from the Alabama side, is $29.50 Sunday-Friday and $34.50 on Saturday.