Trapeze school up in the air

Published 10:22 am Sunday, November 16, 2008

By Staff
City council seeking input on proposition from panels
Contributing Editor
The circus may come to town, or at least part of it.
During its meeting Monday, the Washington City Council was given a presentation about the proposed Inner Banks Trapeze School coming to somewhere in eastern North Carolina. The possible locations, according to the presentation by Doug Soloman, are Washington, Greenville, New Bern, Jacksonville and Morehead City. Soloman told the council the preferred location is Washington because its waterfront provides an attractive setting that would be appealing to spectators.
The trapeze school would not necessarily train people to work as trapeze artists for a circus. Instead, the trapeze school would primarily serve as a recreational activity. The school’s basic program is a two-hour class for about eight to 10 people, with each person paying $40 to take the class, Soloman said.
The trapeze school, Soloman said, could be used in the following ways: Birthday parties, summer camps, corporate events, team building, social groups, fundraising events, church-group functions, family gatherings, community outreach programs and to attract tourists.
The trapeze school would draw plenty of media attention, helping efforts to bring tourists to the region, he said.
Adrian Soloman, who has more than 10 years of experience as a trapeze instructor, would serve as the school’s director.
The Solomans’ proposal drew some comments from city officials.
As for the trapeze school serving as a team-building facility, Councilman Archie Jennings had a view about that.
That would put the trapeze school, which would operate outside from late March to mid-November, possibly moving indoor during the winter months, in the city’s Historic District. Council members made it clear they want the Planning Board, Historic Preservation Commission and Recreation Advisory Committee to review, comments and recommendations on the Solomans’ proposal.
There has been no study conducted to determine if the proposed trapeze school is feasible in the area, Soloman said.
He told the council that “where it’s been established, it has worked.”
Successful trapeze schools have been set up in New York, Baltimore and several Florida cities, Soloman said. A trapeze school in eastern North Carolina would be the only one on the East Coast between Baltimore and Florida, he said. A three-person crew operates each class, he said.
The proposed site for the trapeze school in Washington would require additional lighting and an 8-foot-tall chain-link fence, according to the Solomans. The school requires no permanent structure, with its poles, nets, guy wires, bars and other equipment being easy to disassemble, they noted.
The school would provide the insurance coverage needed for such a facility, Doug Soloman said.
Until the Planning Board, Recreation Advisory Committee and Historic Preservation Commission weigh in on the proposal and the City Council takes their suggestions under consideration, the proposal for the trapeze school remains up in the air.