By Austin Castro
SAN FRANCISCO – Towering 150 feet over Golden Gate Park, the SkyStarObservation Wheel is a one-year temporary installation. However due to COVID restrictions, the wheel was only able to operate for 39 days. Now, the wheel will continue spinning thanks to a new extension. San Francisco’s Historic Preservation Committee voted unanimously to extend the attraction’s operation four more years to 2025. The initial one-year operation was set to expire this month.Economic recovery was listed as one of several reasons to keep the wheel in operation.“We heard testimony that the wheel provides a much needed boost to small business in the area, and serves as an attraction for regional tourism which generates much needed trips to the city,” says Rec and Parks Commission Secretary Ashley Summers. Many locals we spoke to have expressed their support for the SkyStar’s extension. However, certain groups, such as San Franciscans for Urban Nature, have voiced their concern over the wheel’s bright lights and loud generators. The group’s website explains they worry about the impact on wildlife. Justine Fields, who lives down the street, remains in favor. “Overall I think it is a really positive nice thing and again, we’d love to see people to actually get to enjoy it but also appeasing all the people who have concerns,” says Fields. While the extension is now all but certain, the issue now goes to the SF Board of Supervisors on March 9th who may decide to shorten the extension to only one year instead of four.