Commissioners OK high-ropes challenge course in Corolla

By on February 5, 2016

Artist’s rendering of the planned adventure park.

Visitors to Currituck’s beaches will have something new to do in the future, in addition to relaxing at the beach, taking an off-road tour or visiting the historic Corolla Village and Whalehead Club.

Plus, if they want to climb to new heights, the Currituck Beach Lighthouse won’t be the only option.

Corolla Adventure Park, a high-ropes challenge course, was given a use permit by Currituck’s Board of Commissioners earlier this month, and the owners hope to start construction in March, after getting final approval for the park’s site plan.

The aerial adventure park, which will be built on nearly 8 acres just north of Corolla, will be operated by the partnership that operates Nags Head’s First Flight Adventure Park.

Like the one in Nags Head, the park will feature a central tower surrounded by ropes, bridges and zip-lines, which will offer a series of challenges to families and groups.

“It’s a mix of high and low, and offers something for the whole family,” Brett Harrison, one of the partners in the venture, told commissioners during a public hearing on the project.

In addition to offering a recreational outlet to families, high-ropes courses are used for group education and team building, Harrison said. “They are amazing educational tools,” he added, saying that the courses teach teamwork and how to work in stressful environments, along with helping people overcome their fear of heights.

From the ground, the course will resemble First Flight Adventure Park, with a central tower approaching 60 feet and obstacles around it, Harrison said in an email.

The design difference would be more noticeable from overhead, as the obstacle circuits will follow a cloverleaf pattern as opposed to the hurricane pattern in Nags Head.

During the public hearing, Harrison pitched the economic benefits of the park, saying it would help keep visitors on the northern beaches, instead of heading south to Dare County for recreation.

However, some property owners and residents of the nearby Ocean Hill subdivision don’t see the project as a benefit, especially regarding property values.

“I would just ask if any one of you folks would want this in your backyard, particularly if you had a million dollars invested in a home down there,” Robert Mitchell, a property owner in the nearby Villages of Ocean Hill, asked the board.

“If you feel that way, maybe you should put it next to the courthouse,” he added. Mitchell, an appraiser who said he hoped to one day live on the Outer Banks, said he believes an outdoor recreation structure like the ropes course would be a detriment to nearby property values.

Fran Hamilton, who is on the board of directors of the Village of Ocean Hills’ property owners association, agreed. Members of the association were opposed to the Wild Ropes Adventure Park, she said, mainly because a 60-foot tower would obstruct views of the lighthouse, which serve as a selling point and rental attraction.

Harrison said that although the park would be visible to residents, it was not in the direct line of sight between most homes and the lighthouse.

Prior to approving the use permit, the board OK’d a text amendment to county ordinances that adds recreational structures to the list of structures that are exempt from the county’s 35-foot height restriction.

Other exempt structures include silos and church spires, county planner Ben Woody explained.

Most structures in the county are required to have a 10-foot setback from the property line, Woody said.

Structures taller than 35 feet must have a one-to-one setback based on the height of the structure, however, which means that a 60-foot tower would have to be 60 feet from the property line.

Initially, the owners intended to name the park Wild Ropes Adventure Park. After learning that there was already a park using that name, they decided to change it to Corolla Adventure Park, Harrison said.


Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).


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