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Feud Erupts Over SF’s Ferris Wheel Extension to 2025

Opponents battle over whether Golden Gate Park’s 150-foot observation wheel can get 4 year extension.
By - posted 2/18/2021 No Comment

A battle has erupted over whether or not “SkyStar,” San Francisco’s temporary 150-foot-tall observation wheel in Golden Gate Park should be granted a 4 year extension.

Originally planned to last only a year in honor of the park’s 150th anniversary, the wheel sat unused for six months at the beginning of the pandemic and has only been open for a total of 5 weeks.

The Historic Preservation Commission was scheduled to vote on the matter yesterday, but after hearing public comments during yesterday’s online meeting the Commission voted to continue matter until March 3, 2021 to give more time to make a decision.

The SF Rec and Park commission was also scheduled to debate the issue during their meeting on February 18th, but it’s unclear how the Historic Preservation Commissions continuance will affect today’s meeting.

Discussion and possible action to authorize the Department to amend the SkyStar Observation Wheel Permit dated February 28, 2020 permit to extend the term to March 1, 2025 due to impacts of Covid-19, with terms substantially the same as the existing permit.

What’s the battle about? According to the SF Gate and KPIX 5, opponents of the extension are concerned with diesel fumes, light pollution and the affect on local wildlife. Proponents of the extension say people are excited to ride the wheel, will make the park safer at night and will help the economic recovery plan for the city.

Recreation and Park says they want to extend the wheel until March 1, 2023, to “offset financial hardship experienced by the vendor” and to March 1, 2025, to reinvigorate the city’s post-pandemic economy.

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