Developer proposes banjo-shaped Ferris wheel in Owensboro

Local News

OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) A Nashville area developer is proposing an amusement park ride in Owensboro with a bluegrass theme.

Barry Lee tells Eyewitness News he’s looking into the idea of building a ferris wheel in the shape of the banjo, possibly in the downtown area.

Lee met with the Convention and Visitors Bureau Tuesday to discuss the idea.

Ultimately the size of the Ferris wheel would depend on where it’s placed, according to Lee.

The concept of the ride could also include an LED light show on one side of it.

The concept is in its very early stages with the idea of starting community conversation about whether the attraction is something that could work.

“This is so unique,” says Lee.

He says it could hold at least 40 people, on a wheel that’s more than 80 feet high, with the neck reaching up to 150 feet tall, or roughly 13 stories. It’s final size would depend on the available land it’s built on.

“A Ferris wheel is kind of a natural. It’s for everybody. A Ferris wheel is not restrictive to young, old, large or small. It’s something for everybody,” Lee says.

Lee says one of the first things they’ve got to figure out before they build something like this in Owensboro is where to put it. They’re studying several places around the region, including near the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and along the riverfront.

“Well, I think it would be an iconic structure. we are to bluegrass music what the country music hall is to country music. I just think it would be a real visual anchor,” says Chris Joslin of the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Lee says it could cost up $1.5 million, but construction would be privately financed.

“Anything that the private sector can do and stay within the confines of the city and county, I think they can move forward,” says Daviess Co. Judge Executive Al Mattingly says.

“You can’t miss seeing it. Coming in to Owensboro, if you’re coming across the bridge, if you’re on the riverfront, you’re going to see it. If you are coming in from town, you’re going to see it,” Lee adds.

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(This story was originally published on July 17, 2019)

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