News Column

The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, Steve Lackmeyer column

July 10, 2014

By Steve Lackmeyer, The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City

July 10--Petroleum landman Brandon Arthur may end up looking for a new site for his proposed 220-foot "Star Flyer" after being told by the Bricktown Urban Design Committee the amusement ride is a bad fit for the historic warehouse district.

Arthur has yet to apply to the city for permission to build the amusement ride, but did share his plans with the committee Wednesday at their meeting. The $2.5 million tower would include a dozen two-passenger cars and potentially an observation deck and would be twice the height of any structure in the district.

Arthur said he sought to complement amusements already in the area, including the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, Kingpin Bowling Lanes, Harkins Theaters and the Brickopolis entertainment complex currently under construction.

"I wanted to cater to family entertainment," Arthur said. "When I was down there, I saw families, I saw children. I just want to add to what is already there."

Arthur said he would provide full-time security for the ride throughout the year and it would likely operate up to 10 months a year. He said only nine of the rides exist in the United States, most of which are at amusement parks.

"I believe this would draw more people to Bricktown," Arthur said. "It would draw people off of I-40. I could see T-shirt sales where a kid from Toledo buys a shirt saying 'I rode the Bricktown Flyer.'"

A majority of the committee complimented Arthur's effort, but advised they will vote "no" if he seeks approval to build it along the Bricktown Canal just west of the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

"I do think the idea is novel," said Committee Member Sandino Thompson. "Seeing energy behind things like this, I'm encouraged. But this site seems pretty tight. Thinking about the precedent on why we might vary from what the design criteria is, you'd have to make a strong case for what would be a steel structure in the middle of Bricktown."

Committee members Phil Miller and Tom Wilson also advised they believe Bricktown is a wrong location, and Wilson advised Arthur to attend this week's open planning sessions in Capitol Hill for a proposed redevelopment of the former Downtown Airpark along the Oklahoma River. The development, Wilson noted, is already set to include a Ferris wheel that was purchased and moved from the Santa Monica Pier in California.

Arthur said he was unfamiliar with the development and agreed to attend the meetings.

"I want to continue pursuing this site," Arthur said, "but I am open to looking at other sites as well."


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Source: Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City)

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