Chicago entertainment veteran and architect propose Chicago River gondolas

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A couple of Chicago businessmen are floating a high flying idea to attract tourists to the city. (WLS)

A couple of Chicago businessmen are floating a high flying idea to attract tourists to the city. They've created an animation showing of their idea to build a gondola ride travelling over the Chicago River to Navy Pier.

The idea comes from the man behind Chicago's theater scene. He teamed up with another tourism board member and for the last four years they've been dreaming about giving people a new view of downtown Chicago.

Currently, the best views of the Chicago River come by foot or boat. One day, however, you might be able to see it from 17 stories in the air from cable cars suspended over the River Walk.

"It's real. This isn't a dream. This is real," says Lou Razin, president of Broadway in Chicago.

Raizin is the man with the plan and he's backed-up by the designer of the London Eye, a wheel that has wowed Britain and beyond.

"Chicago is a great world class city to the majority of the world doesn't know about. We need to change that," Razin says.

The gondolas would run connect Navy Pier and Wolf Point, near the fork in the river. Promoters have pitched the mayor and business leaders. They're now looking for investors for the $250 million project. They know in this climate, taxpayers can't be asked to pay a dime.

So what do tourists think?

"She said if she saw this picture she would more want to come to Chicago," said one Chinese tourist, speaking through her translating partner.

"Chicago is very vibrant without a cable car, but give me and a cable car and it gives me another option," says Pam McDonald of Springfield, Ill.

After 15 years captaining boats on the river, Doug Chyna says it's a constantly evolving place.

"With the new River Walk, it opens new avenues and new businesses and brings more people down," he says.

And visitors say they like the idea of making no small plans.

"Even the water taxi, I'm sure they thought that when they first came about, now I'm always on them. They're fun," says Gianna Guskey of Schaumburg. "I'll do it. It's enclosed right? Then I'll do it!"

The people behind the project have several ideas for ways to continually revitalize downtown Chicago, and say the airborne gondolas could be running as soon as 18 months after they find financing.

Related Topics:
entertainmenttourismChicago - DowntownChicago - Navy Pier
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