The Hamilton County Commissioners have given an unanimous thumbs-up to replace the temporary, portable SkyStar observation wheel at The Banks with a more permanent structure.
Within a year, the 150-foot-tall current SkyStar will be a replaced by a 200-foot-tall similar structure — i.e. rotating, enclosed gondolas; aerial views of the riverfront, Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky; etc. — in the same location at 55 E. Freedom Way.
The new SkyStar will be a long-term addition to the Cincinnati skyline, and the area surrounding it will receive additional improvements including landscaping, room for art installations and an all-important "selfie-friendly screen in front of signage." The wheel's current operations will continue until early 2020, until the structure transitions to the larger size.
“We love Cincinnati and The Banks,” said SkyStar managing partner, Todd Schneider, in a release. “We’ve been overwhelmed with requests to stay part of Cincinnati’s skyline since we gave our first ride just over a year ago.”
The new SkyStar has a 10-year operating term, with two additional five-year renewal options for a total of 20 years.
“I’m so excited that SkyStar has decided to make Hamilton County home,” said Commission President Denise Driehaus. “This Instagram-famous attraction has not only flooded social media with beautifully fun pictures of our riverfront, it has also driven foot traffic and enhances the overall family-friendly experience at The Banks.”
SkyStar will also contribute a portion of proceeds from ride sales to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and other organizations, like the nonprofit ArtsWave.