The regional permanent large wheel market may have dried up over the past year.
There are currently no plans to build the two giant observation wheels planned a year ago on the Ohio River, one in Cincinnati, the other in Newport.
Tom Fromme, City of Newport Director recently told The Enquirer that the Newport SkyWheel scheduled for Newport on The Levee won’t happen anytime soon. He said “the economy has ruined” plans for the 230-foot wheel that St. Louis-based Koch Development allegedly built between the Levee and Newport Aquarium atop the flood wall.
The permit that the Army Corps of Engineers gave to the city for the structure in 2019 will expire on July 18, Fromme said.
The possibility of another observation wheel coming back across the river to The Banks doesn’t look much better.
SkyStar had operated a 150-high glowing wheel along the Cincinnati River from August 2018 to March 2020. It has become a popular attraction and part of the city’s skyline. In March 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting to spread, the St. Louis-based company SkyStar took the wheel apart with plans to rebuild a permanent 1.80-foot wheel within a year.
But the pandemic has put that plan on hold, perhaps for good.
The CEO of SkyStar in December wrote to the county administrator basically saying they would love to come back – but don’t wait.
“We respectfully ask that you keep the door open to the possibility of doing something on Lot 18 in the future, but we will certainly understand if anything else comes up that you would like to do instead,” wrote the SkyStar Managing Partner Todd Schneider in a December statement. E-mail dated 16, 2020 to administrator Aluotto, regarding the use of the land on which the observation wheel was located in front of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
Schneider hasn’t returned many calls from The Enquirer since December about the possibility of the wheel returning.