WHEEL IN THE PENSACOLA BEACH SKY
Soaring into the air nearly 200 feet, it would be one of the most distinctive landmarks along the Gulf Coast.
The proposed observation wheel, called 360 Pensacola Beach, would dwarf a typical Ferris wheel and give views that stretch for miles.
Santa Rosa Island Authority Executive Director Buck Lee told us the massive wheel could be a huge economic boost.
"We had a great year last year. But like any business, when you've had a great year, you want the next year to be even better," Lee said.
St. Louis-based Pacific Development is behind the wheel. It's similar to the SkyWheel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, which the same group built in 2011.
Beyond being an iconic part of the skyline, the 360 Pensacola Beach wheel would be a $10 million investment, creating upwards of 40 jobs.
"If you've got $10 million and you want to bring some kind of family entertainment to Pensacola Beach, then my recommendation tonight is let's go forward with it," Lee said.
LOCAL BUSINESS ON BOARD
If the wheel is built, it will sit in the parking lot across from the Hampton Inn, which would put it right in front of Richard Hicks business, the Fun Spot.
"It would be great for my business, of course," Hicks said. "I just think making Pensacola Beach more of a destination, one more attraction for us to have. I think it's a great idea."
Of course, one big question would be how the structure would fare during a hurricane. Developers said it can withstand hurricane-force winds, but the gondolas, all 42 of them, would have to be removed.
That's a process, though, that only takes a few hours. In fact, the entire wheel itself can be broken down in just a few days and stored until after a storm has passed.
The wheel's developers are presenting their proposal to a Santa Rosa Island Authority Committee. From there, the proposal is expected to go before a full vote of the Authority on March 14. If the wheel gets passed that stage, they'll just have to meet county requirements to move forward.
If the giant wheel gets the final go-ahead, developers hope to have it spinning by Memorial Day.
The trial for Giuseppe Pino LoPorto continues today in Baldwin County. LoPorto, now 80-years-old, faces several sex abuse charges against a child dating back to the early 90s.
FOX10 News has learned William "Eddie" Patrick, captain of Mobile's First police precinct, has been demoted following an internal investigation.
A man who bought a bicycle three weeks ago finds out it was originally stolen, according to the original owner who reported it missing in October.
If you were in the Foley area Thursday, you may have seen a helicopter, police and K-9 units. That’s because a store in Foley was robbed this morning at gunpoint. Eventually, the search was called off. The suspect is still on the loose.
Pastor of Lifeway Community Church Mike McPherson says thieves stole presents that would have been given to needy children.
Skies are mostly clear and the breezy north wind is very noticeable this evening. Daytime highs were only in the mid 50’s today. We are expecting a light freeze tonight along and north of I-10. Lows will be near 32 degrees in Mobile. Upper 20’s are possible well inland.