- Eric Schwartzberg Staff Writer
An indoor skydiving business with locations worldwide is gearing up to make Butler County its first Ohio location.
iFLY Indoor Skydiving plans to construct a 5,175-square-foot, free-standing building on an unoccupied half-acre site toward the front of Liberty Center just off Interstate 75.
The business touts its ability to simulate freefall conditions in a vertical wind tunnel.
“It’s where the dream of flight becomes a reality,” reads a company tagline.
Such wind tunnels have given skydivers a practical and consistent way to develop and perfect skills that typically require leaping from a plane. The increase in availability of wind tunnels also has spawned a fast-growing sport – bodyflight.
Founded in 1998, iFLY Indoor Skydiving operates 65 locations worldwide in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia.
iFLY considered sites in Butler, Warren and Hamilton counties before deciding to pursue construction of a facility on the south side of Blake Street at Liberty Center.
The development is coming to a portion of land that was not originally planned for development, according to Lou Gambertoglio, iFLY’s vice president of project and construction, who represented iFLY at recent township zoning commission meetings.
The commission approved final planned unit development review for the site. Next up, the company must apply for a zoning permit, which typically takes about one week to process, township officials said.
At least one commission member asked if iFLY locations had closed and expressed reservations because of challenge of reuse of the structure.
Gambertoglio said he did not know of any facility that had closed in the company’s 20-year history and that iFLY locations are constantly booked and, due to the limited number of facilities, are constantly booked.
The boost to tourism due to the attraction’s regional draw is a benefit to area communities, he said.
The demographics of iFLY’s customer base hits every age cohort from ages 3 to 103, with the majority of the ages focused from 9 years old to 19 years old, due to its focus on families, Gambertoglio said.