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Seattle Center may not get its Ferris wheel after all

April 29th, 2011 by Thea

Back in December the Seattle Center announced that it would be constructing a 200-foot observation wheel at the former Fun Forest site as part of The Next Fifty, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1962 World’s Fair and the birth of the Center. But now the Ferris wheel, which was supposed to open this spring, may not be coming to the grounds at all, according to Seattle Center representative Deborah Dauost.

Great City Attractions, a British company that operates observation wheels in Asia and Europe and had planned to transport, construct and operate the wheel at Seattle Center has met trouble securing liability insurance for the ride, according to a report by The Seattle Times. This would have been the first wheel the company constructed in the United States. From the Times:

“We’re still talking with Great City, but we’re looking into other options as well,” Dauost said. The Center’s master plan calls for an iconic ride to replace the carnival rides and arcade games that operated at the site.

According to the report, Seattle Center representatives became concerned over Great City’s difficulties in securing arrangements for the wheel over the past couple of month when the company asked to push back the opening from April to July, and later told officials that the wheel would meet further delays due to the royal wedding in London.

Seattle Center officials were hoping to bring the giant observation wheel to the campus as a tribute to the carnival spirit of the original World’s Fair, with a futuristic design that looked to the years ahead for the campus and the city surrounding it. The ride, which was supposed to run through October 2012, was projected to attract half a million visitors per year.

But even if the Seattle Center cancels its plans to bring an observation wheel to the campus, the city may be getting one soon in a different iconic location –  Pier 57 owner Hal Griffith is currently in the midst of getting the necessary permits to bring a similar Ferris wheel to the city’s waterfront, according to the Times report. Read the full story here.

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