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Aerial Adventure Park Eyed For Lanesborough

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
11:50PM / Monday, April 09, 2012
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And artist's rendering of the entrance of a proposed outdoor adventure park in Lanesborough.
 
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — A New York company is eyeing the development of an aerial adventure park near the Hancock border.

Feronia Holdings LLC owns land that encompasses the access road to the Brodie Wind Project. Officials say they want to build a seven-acre park that includes hiking trails, zip lines and ropes courses in what they say is the most "environmentally friendly" way. They plan to partner with Ghent, N.Y., company Tree-Mendous to build the ropes courses.

"It's one of the most environmentally friendly projects you can do," Gerhard Komenda, CEO of Tree-Mendous Adventure Parks, said on Monday. "The trees are not harmed."

The companies said Feronia Forests Adventure Park could bring in eight to 10 permanent jobs and four or five seasonal jobs. They want to build a sugar shack and equipment rental shop at the base and then hiking trails up to the courses. Komenda said the ropes courses will range in difficulty and the obstacles are not "screwed or bolted" into the trees and can be taken down easily.

"It's activities a whole family can enjoy," said Paolo Cugnasca, a principal of Feronia, said. "It can be surprisingly demanding. The kids love it."

Feronia is trying to monetize timberland without harming the environment, according to attorney Jonathan Sabin, who represents the company. Sabin said it is "one of the more exciting projects" with which he's been involved.

The company is ready to invest more than $1 million into bringing the project to fruition. However, since the zoning bylaws — including the ones approved at last week's special town meeting — specifically allows outdoor adventures courses, the company may be using a citizens petition to add language that would allow them to receive permits.

"With restrictive zoning, if it is not specifically listed then it is not allowed," Sabin said. "Outdoor adventure is something relatively new to all of us."

Sabin said he spoke to the town's Planning Board in the past about the project but the board was already in the middle of a multi-year re-evaluation of the bylaws so the companies held off.

"We consciously decided not to meddle in three to four years of work," Sabin said.

On Monday, they had hoped to get the Planning Board to endorse adding outdoor adventure parks but board members who were present indicated that after the just finished, massive bylaw retooling, it was unlikely the board would take the lead in presenting voters with yet another change. The board itself did not meet for lack of a quorum.

Feronia representatives were told to go through the Board of Selectmen or take it upon themselves to get 10 certified signatures to place a warrant article on the annual town meeting.

Sabin said he hoped the Planning Board would sponsor the change because it would likely be the group that would grant a special permit for the project.

Adventure Park Proposal: Lanesborough

Tags: outdoor adventure,   ropes course,   

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