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SkyWheel Receives Approval from Army Corps of Engineers

SkyWheel, the planned observation wheel to be placed near Newport on the Levee, received approval on Friday from the Army Corps of Engineers, giving the project another green light to move forward.

In April, the Newport city commission approved a ground lease for SkyWheel, which City Manager Tom Fromme said at the time was the last piece of paperwork needed for the Army Corps of Engineers' approval process.

The city also approved $15 million in industrial revenue bonds last September to assist the project.

"We're super excited to have the project moving forward. We've got great partners involved and everyone is on the same page," said assistant city manager Larisa Sims. "We are looking forward to getting it kicked off after three long years of permit approvals."

The SkyWheel was first announced in in June of 2016.

The approval from the Army Corps of Engineers comes shortly after an announcement that SkyStar, a similar project on the Cincinnati riverfront, would become a permanent fixture there, creating an air of competition between the two endeavors.

The current SkyStar is a temporary observation wheel that will be replaced by a larger, permanent one.

"There is competition with any business, so we just expect that our is going to be a great addition to the riverfront," Sims told The River City News

She noted that the Newport wheel would benefit from its proximity to Newport Aquarium and Newport on the Levee, which is in the early stages of a $100 million redevelopment after its $100 million sale to Cincinnati-based North American Properties.

Sims said that SkyWheel and the Levee are still working out details on their end, but the approval on Friday is a good step forward.

"This is another great attraction for Northern Kentucky," Sims said.

This story may be updated.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher