While the excitement continues to grow as we inch closer to the completion of the Chattahoochee white water project, local business owners are looking forward to what the project will mean for Columbus and surrounding areas. Jason McKenzie, owner of Ride On Bikes, offers his views on how white water will enliven and invigorate our community.
Are you involved in the project in any way?
I am not really directly involved with the project, but I am really excited about the potential.
When do you expect it to be completed?
I am hoping for this project to be complete summer 2013.
How do you think white water rafting will change Columbus and the Chattahoochee Valley?
I sit on a few boards and I am often asked “why does my generation not stay in Columbus?” I am 27 years old. Columbus has been kind of stuck in that old-school mentality — that people will move where there are jobs. We need and are motivated by culture and lifestyle. To prove my point, take any ski town in Colorado. “Kids” with degrees are working for minumum wage in order to live in an area where the can ski in the winter and ride mountain bikes in the summer. I think that bringing white water to Columbus will bring the same effect to our town. They are estimating an extra 400 visitors per day. Even if it is half of that, it will be a huge success. The money that will come to our motels, restaurants and bike shops! Let’s face it: outdoor people pretty much enjoy all outdoor sports.
Do you plan to get involved with any business ventures (Kayak shops, rafting stores, guided tours) based on the rafting project?
I looked at this industry very closely and put a pencil to a business plan around white water. It has mad potential! After meeting with several reps and learning how complex the industry is, I decided to stick with what I am good at. I don’t want to be Dick’s sporting goods. I want to be really good at bikes, not just okay at several different things.
How excited are you about white water in the Valley?
I am super stoked about this project! It is what Columbus needs to go to the next level!