A Towering New Plan for Las Vegas

Two hundred construction jobs and a sure-fire tourist attraction have convinced Clark County commissioners to approve a use permit for a 500-foot ferris wheel on the Las Vegas Strip. It would be taller than the London Eye, which rises 135 meters (442.9 feet) above the Thames River near some of London's most popular tourist sites.

While the Vegas wheel would overshadow its British cousin, it would not be as tall as the Washington Monument (555 feet, 5.5 inches) but would dwarf the Statue of Liberty (151 feet, 1 inch for the statue alone; 305 feet, 1 inch from the base of the pedestal to the top of her torch).

The London Eye Company says more than 39 million visitors have ridden the London Eye, "the world's largest cantilevered observation wheel," since it was erected in 2000. (My family and I took one spin around the wheel and enjoyed it greatly.) And with the 2012 Summer Olympics taking place in and around London beginning July 27, 2012, it is sure to be packed and seen on TV by billions of people around the world.

Las Vegas may be a tourist magnet, too, but the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported March 3 that skeptics believe the 500-foot wheel may never be built. Amusement parks don't generate enough cash flow to pay the high price of real estate on the Strip, one said, citing several plans for other ferris wheels that fell through.

Posted by Jerry Laws on Mar 04, 2011