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Monday, August 19, 2019

The SkyWheel is ready to be shipped to Newport

The 235-ft. observation wheel is ready to be shipped to Newport and is scheduled to break ground in September.

On July 22, the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers informed the city of Newport that it had approved the permit for the construction. Efforts to bring a SkyWheel to Newport were first reported in 2015.

Final terms between the city of Newport and SkyWheel Attractions, along with the Newport Aquarium and Newport on the levee ownership, will bring the privately funded SkyWheel to Newport. The total investment is expected to be around $15 million.

EGC Construction will build the bridge and pier for the SkyWheel. The assembly of the wheel and associated equipment will be done by the Netherlands-based company called Dutch Wheels, which is the manufacturer of the SkyWheel.

Newport's SkyWheel has already been manufactured and tested in the Netherlands. It is being stored in shipping containers, ready to transport to the United States. Officials say the wheel could open two months after the completion of the pier construction, which is predicted to be finished in March 2020.

The SkyWheel will be accessible to all abilities. It will stand more than twenty stories high and has thirty fully-enclosed gondolas with glass windows and doors to view the Ohio river, Northern Kentucky, and the beautiful Cincinnati skyline. The climate-controlled gondolas hold up to six riders for three or four revolutions.

“Like with the first SkyWheel on the coast of Myrtle Beach, we chose Newport because if its unparalleled views of the Ohio River and Cincinnati’s skyline,” said Matt Stack, president of SkyWheel Attractions.

SkyWheel operates similar attractions in locations such as Myrtle Beach, Niagara Falls, and Panama City Beach.

Stack said the SkyWheel will complement the adjacent Newport on the Levee and Newport Aquarium.

It's about synergies and creating a critical mass with like-kind experiences, Stack said. When a family can go to the aquarium, or a group of adults go out for the night, the SkyWheel is an enhancement to that.

The company will face competition from the Cincinnati side of the river where the SkyStar has proven so popular as a temporary installation, that city officials have announced that it will now become permanent.

A larger wheel is expected to arrive in Cincinnati at some point.

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