Who says the thrill is gone? If the owners of the SkyView Ferris wheel in downtown Atlanta have their way, the thrill is just beginning.
The owners plan to open a few new rides by next June, pending state and local approval.
The three new rides would offer people a variety of experiences. SkyDrop will strap people in a seated ride, elevate to 225 feet and drop in a free fall to the bottom in 4.6 seconds.
SkyShot will strap two people back to back and vault riders more than 200 feet into the air — ending with either a free-fall descent or one with somersaults.
The third ride — SkyTwist — is for people of all ages who want to enjoy the view without the adrenaline rush. Passengers will ride in a glass-enclosed gondola that will twist its way to the top of SkyTower – and circle around before making a gradual descent.
The SkyView Ferris wheel is so popular the owners have signed a 20-year lease for the land below SkyView and the proposed SkyTower — where two parking lots will become an urban amusement park.
Todd Schneider, a co-owner of SkyView, says of the nearly half a million people who have ridden the Ferris wheel each of the two years it’s been in business — half are from out of town while the other half live in metro Atlanta.
He says the rides are giving people in the suburbs a reason to visit downtown — adding to the area’s vitality.
There are differing opinions about using two prime blocks overlooking Centennial Olympic Park for amusement rides. Does it make our downtown feel like a carnival? Or does it add new life to the city — especially during evenings and weekends.
I believe the latter is true. SkyView and the proposed SkyTower add excitement and fun to our city — two key ingredients essential to a healthy downtown.