First, the dream. Enter Neal Wickham, retired outdoor supplies retailer, environmentalist, and naturalist. John Turner, the driving force behind developing the whitewater project on the Chattahoochee River in downtown Columbus and Phenix City credited Wickham with the idea of breaching the cotton mill dams. Wickham didn’t deny it. He told me he first made the suggestion back in the 1970s when then Ledger-Enquirer Editorial Page Editor Billy Winn wrote an editorial saying Columbus needed an “it” to promote the area. Wickham said he wrote to Winn that breaching the mill dams would provide that “it. ” Turns out he was right.
Turner said the whitewater project is succeeding in getting Columbus the kind of attention it needs to attract people from all over the country. He said now when he tells people he’s from Columbus, Georgia, they say, “Oh, that city with the crazy river running through the downtown area.”
Well, guess what? Neal Wickham has come up with another dream that could cause a lot of talk all over America. He told me today that a zip line attached to the Eagle and Phenix Mill smokestacks crossing the Chattahoochee River would be a huge attraction. He is probably right. Wonder if they are stable enough for elevators to take people to the top to hook onto the the zip-line. I’m pretty sure it would be easy to get an expert on such things to find out. Just imagine what it would be like to zip over the Chattahoochee rapids from Columbus to Phenix City. As someone at today’s Rotary event said, Wickham would be probably the first to do the zipping. At 83, he was the oldest Rotarian to ride the rapids in a raft today.