‘New’ century-old Ferris wheel to be unveiled

‘New’ century-old Ferris wheel to be unveiled

The public is invited to Tuscora Park on Sunday, May 28 at 3 p.m. for the official dedication of the newly rebuilt Ferris wheel.


The public is invited to Tuscora Park on Sunday, May 28 at 3 p.m. for the official dedication of the newly rebuilt Ferris wheel. The vintage 1926 C.W. Parker Ferris Wheel has been completely rebuilt over the past two years, a process that kept it out of service and unable to provide rides for kids and families, which has been a tradition at Tuscora Park for some 80 years.

Julie Levengood, president of the Rotary Club, said the dedication event will be brief and will conclude with invited Ferris wheel passengers taking a ride before it’s opened to the public.

“We’re inviting the many donors to the project, staff of local companies that had a hand in the reconstruction project and everybody who values the unique treasure we have here at Tuscora Park,” Levengood said. “We’ll thank those who’ve contributed to the project, and then the first riders will enjoy the inaugural run of our new Ferris wheel.”

The project has been under the direction of the Rotary Club of New Philadelphia and its nonprofit arm, RTY Inc. Rotarian and RTY board chairman Greg Rees has been the spearhead for the project, assisted by Rotarian Richard Geib II. The process took two years and cost about a quarter of a million dollars to complete.

“The amount of community support for this project has been unbelievable,” Rees said. “Not only did the local businesses, foundations and individuals make large donations, but in-kind contributions of materials and skilled labor were all important to bring us to this day.”

Geib said several local companies had significant roles in the Ferris wheel project.

“Dover Tank and Plate designed and fabricated an all-new steel structure and renovated the passenger gondolas including the design and construction of two handicap-accessible gondolas,” Geib said. “Gradall completed the job by powder coating the gondolas in bright colors as a donation to this project.”

Geib said Gradall Company and Dover Hydraulics also provided parts and technical support for the hydraulic drive system. “All in all it’s been a true community project and a labor of love for those involved,” he said.

The project began in summer 2021 after State of Ohio ride inspectors determined the newly enacted Tyler’s Law would mandate extensive inspection and renovation of the Ferris wheel ride in order to gain operating approval. That inspection revealed a total rebuilding of the steel wheel structure was necessary, along with improvements to the passenger gondolas.

“The Ferris wheel was manufactured in 1926 and has been operating at Tuscora Park since the early 1940s,” Rees said, “but now we have what amounts to a brand-new ride. We’ve tuned and tested the ride including loading one gondola with 2,000 pounds of weight. It ran perfectly without a slip, even with that huge imbalance in the load.”

RTY will open the amusement rides at Tuscora Park on Saturday, May 27 for Memorial Day weekend and the regular summer season. The Ferris wheel will remain under wraps until the dedication ceremony and first ride is completed Sunday, May 28 at 3 p.m.

For more information about all Tuscora Park attractions, visit the park’s website at www.tuscorapark.com.

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