update 1:10 p.m. – The observation wheel vote has been tabled. A representative from the company proposing to build the observation wheel, Great City Attractions, is in North Texas and meeting with various Dallas officials Tuesday. While there was no vote today, the plan for the Ferris wheel-type project is still alive.
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas County commissioners are scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether or not to build a massive “observation” wheel that’s expected to be a lot like others already in Europe.
If approved, it will be built near the President John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza, in downtown Dallas.
The 17-story observation wheel, similar to a Ferris wheel, would also be close to a number of Dallas historic landmarks.
Supporters say it will give riders a spectacular view of downtown Dallas, the JFK Memorial, Dealey Plaza, and the Old Red Courthouse.
The ride would be the same type of amusement attraction that sits along London’s river Thames – an air-conditioned gondola, and Dallas would be the first city in the U.S. to have such a wheel.
The proposed attraction would also be close to another memorial and it’s that location that some people are opposed to.
Plans have the 174-foot attraction sitting next to the memorial that commemorates the 19 Dallas County sheriff’s deputies who’ve lost their lives in the line of duty.
Captain Mark Howard thinks the giant wheel should be build somewhere else. “In one word, it’s disrespectful. This is hallowed ground. This is where you come to pay respect; it’s not the place for a carnival ride,” he said.
The county commissioners have already given preliminary approval for the observation wheel and one of the leaders believes the location is good for everyone.
“It’s not the fact that it will take away from the [fallen sheriff’s deputies] memorial, explained Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, “We think it will do just the opposite. It will bring more attention to the area.”
In terms of height, the proposed observation wheel would not be higher than the Texas Star Ferris wheel on the state fairgrounds. The Texas Star stands at 212-feet, some three stories higher than the observation wheel.