The regional market for large, permanent Ferris wheels may have dried up over the past year.
There are no plans right now to build the two giant spinning observation wheels planned a year ago on the Ohio River, one in Cincinnati, another in Newport.
Newport City Manager Tom Fromme recently told The Enquirer that the Newport SkyWheel slated for Newport on The Levee won't happen anytime soon. He said the "economy ruined" the plans for the 230-foot wheel that St. Louis-based Koch Development would have built between the Levee and Newport Aquarium atop the floodwall.
The permit the Army Corps of Engineers gave the city for the structure in 2019 will expire on July 18, Fromme said.
The possibility of another observation wheel returning across the river to The Banks doesn't look much better.
SkyStar had operated a 150-tall glowing wheel along Cincinnati's riverfront from August 2018 to March 2020. It became a popular attraction and part of the city's skyline. In March 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic started to spread, the St. Louis-based SkyStar company disassembled the wheel with the plan to rebuild a permanent 180-foot wheel within a year.
But the pandemic has put that plan on hold, possibly for good.
The CEO of the SkyStar company in December wrote the county administrator basically saying they would like to return – but don't wait up.
"We respectfully ask you to keep the door open for the possibility of doing something on Lot 18 in the future but would certainly understand if something else comes along that you would like to do instead," wrote SkyStar managing partner Todd Schneider in a Dec. 16, 2020 email to administrator Aluotto, regarding use of the lot the observation wheel was on in front of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
Schneider has not returned numerous calls from The Enquirer since December on the possibility of the wheel's return.