Zipline company raises dock idea for Allegan boat rentals
Allegan Event zipline owners made an informal proposal to the City of Allegan to add a boat dock next to the zipline ticket gate for the purpose of renting kayaks, canoes and paddleboats.
Allegan Event (also doing business as Ropes Courses, Inc. and JML Real Estate) is considering designing and building the dock at the riverfront boardwalk at their cost for use by rental customers only. Liability insurance would also be paid by the company.
City manager Joel Dye asked council members to determine some parameters for the project.
“My personal opinion, I think it should offer a public access area so other watercraft and motor boats on the river can tie up to the public boardwalk,” Dye said.
Mayor pro-tem Rachel McKenzie asked if the same opportunity would be offered to anyone else. Dye said it would not because clutter along the boardwalk would be a concern and a livery would need to flow with the current design.
For Allegan Event to operate a rental from the current kayak launch was not an option because the plan was to utilize employees at the zipline and having them in two places would be more of a labor cost.
Council members raised safety issues as a concern since youth will be tempted to climb on the dock to get to the water. While the river is only four-feet deep at the boardwalk’s edge, the river bottom is muddy. Another concern was that adding a public accessibility area could cause liability issues not covered by the private enterprise.
Dye said liability insurance for the zipline has the city as an additional insured party and could be done the same with the boat dock. Also for the zipline is a $25,000 bond in the event it is no longer in business and needs to be removed.
“We could ask for the same option with the dock or choose to keep it,” Dye said.
He said Allegan Event’s goal was to bring more people to the riverfront and that’s a goal shared by the city.
Charles Tripp asked that if approved, a deadline be set to finish the project. Mayor Stacy Stotmeiser said she would like to see signs posted of its hours of operation.
Council’s concerns will be presented to Allegan Event and a formal proposal will be sought.