- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 28, 2015

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Kyle Batta has finally found a building tall enough to handle his dream business - an indoor rock climbing recreation center.

The plan has been three years in the making, built on a life-changing decision to quit his computer desk job, adopt an active lifestyle and shed 96 of the 269 pounds he had been carrying.

Wall climbing became his favorite activity. But driving to a climbing center in Indianapolis got old, and Batta decided Lafayette residents should have a local facility.

Climbing is an exercise in building trust between parents and kids, girlfriends and boyfriends or just friends. More importantly, it flexes every muscle in a climber’s body, he said.

“There’s so much problem solving going on in your head and you don’t even realize you’re thinking about it,” he told the Journal & Courier (https://on.jconline.com/1wAPtbq ).

The biggest problem was finding a building to accommodate climbing walls that are 24 or 25 feet high, he said. Finally, they found 7,000 square feet of warehouse space at 4650 Dale Drive.

“We were like, ‘Yes, this is going to work,’” Batta said.

The Tippecanoe County area planning staff has recommended that the Board of Zoning Appeals approve a special exception permitting the climbing center in an industrial area.

Pending that approval, Batta plans to hire employees, have a contractor install the equipment and open for business by April.

Batta developed a business plan with the help of Kelly Dugger, his girlfriend and business partner.

An eight-month mentorship through Greater Lafayette Commerce’s Tippy Connect program prepared him for just about anything.

“It showed me nothing was ever going to be easy,” he said. “More and more problems arise and you have to be quick on your feet to solve them as fast as you can.

“But anything worth doing is going to be like that.”


Information from: Journal and Courier, https://www.jconline.com

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