RUMFORD — Promotional Thumbs Up! stickers are now available for the public to demonstrate their support for Envision Rumford! and their effort to establish zip lines here. 

Cherry Smith, owner of Ink Plaza at 64 Congress St., has prepared the promotional stickers, which are available in her store at no charge for the public. She is also one of 20 people on the Envision Rumford! committee and is doing this to demonstrate her support. 

Tom Carey, a member of the committee, said these removable promo logos can be used in windows in stores or on vehicles. These stickers will generate conversation about the zip lines as well as demonstrate support to entities such as Broomfield Power, NewPage and the Rumford Board of Selectmen, all of which are seen as key for the zip line project to be successful here. 

This support will only add to what Carey indicated is an expanding number of people on an email distribution list for information about the project. 

Glen Holmes, director of the Western Maine Economic Development Council, the business and economic development organization for Oxford County, said such a project would people to town who normally would not do so. 

“This is one of the most impressive things I’ve seen for Rumford in a long time,” he noted. 

Following the promotion sticker announcement last Wednesday, Holmes, Sysko and Carey met with Alton Palmer, a consulting engineer of Gorrill-Palmer Consulting Engineers, Inc. of Gray, to do a walk around arranged by Holmes to have Palmer’s opinion of the regulatory hurdles they are facing. 

Zip lines, which Envision Rumford! introduced to the public in March, is their latest venture in an effort to energize Rumford’s business climate. 

“Rumford is fighting for survival,” noted Carey. “This once historic business community is now ravaged, like many other communities, by economic misfortune. Our group, Envision Rumford!, is our means of ‘fighting back.’ We are descendants of a long heritage of hardworking loggers and papermakers. We were the hub of business activity and economic growth for many years. A walk down our main street is a testament to our heritage with some of the finest architecture in Maine at the time of the industrial revolution. We are now tattered; but we are fighters.” 

“The zip line project is not whimsical or fanciful. It is not intended for a small elite group. It is an effort to exploit our assets – our roaring falls, beautiful river and landscape,” he noted. 

Carey said the zip line project is intended to be one of a kind. There are up to six potential zip lines sites, perhaps unmatched in the world, with over 14,000 feet of zip lines, with two of them alone measuring between 3,850 and 4,000 feet. Each of the zip lines will be within a matter of feet from Route 2, which is considered a “sweet spot” in the zip line industry, and Rumford’s business district. The zip line project will be an incubator for other businesses and vendors. The consequences of the project are endless but the seed needs to be planted and cultivated. The zip line project has both destination potential and the advantage of high traffic volume on Route 2. Hotels, restaurants, clothing vendors, gas stations and many more businesses will be the beneficiaries.

He said a critical part of their plan includes expert review of the zip line sites by a professional to determine their viability and also to generate a business plan that is mutually beneficial to the developer, manager and operator of the project.

In the March meeting of Envision Rumford!, they had a substantial telephone conference with Brad Morse of Canopy Tours, one of the largest zip line companies in the world. Carey said his consultants fee for doing exactly what we need is approximately $6,000, which would include his travel, lodging and consultation for one day during which time he would be able to assess the viability of the project, the location of the zip lines and the prospect of financing and actually operating the zip lines once constructed. 

“He indicated that the zip lines could employ upwards of 40 people with some reduction during the winter months,” said Carey. The committee is looking for a sponsor for these consultation costs.