SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – The giant Ferris wheel in Golden Gate Park could be around for another four years if San Francisco’s parks department gets its way. But the plan has drawn opposition from some groups, who call it an eyesore.

Installed last year, the wheel was brought in to celebrate the park’s 150th anniversary. But right now, it’s in the middle of the park, empty.

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“It operated for about six weeks,” said Rec and Park general manager Phil Ginsburg. “That’s it.”

The wheel was supposed to open in April of 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the grand opening to October. A little more than a month later, 39 days to be exact, it closed, along with many businesses during the stay-at-home order.

It was only supposed to be a one-year deal. But now, the parks department plans to extend the observation wheel’s contract until March 2025.

“You know, it’s really special,” Ginsburg said. “Great cities do great things and we’d like the wheel to stick around and be a part of the city’s recovery.”

The goal: to bring locals and tourists to the park.

But some aren’t a fan of the big attraction.

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“I think it’s horrible. I mean look at this, this is so wrong,” said Stephanie Wiseman. “This is a place of peace, this is a place of sanctuary. I love the tea gardens, the tea gardens is what brings me here, it’s Zen.

Pointing to the wheel, Wiseman said, “This is okay, I get we’re celebrating, but not until 2025.”

Several groups have voiced their concerns as well. Friends of the Music Concourse has called it “intrusive.”

The Sierra Club said the wheel could have “negative impacts on wildlife,” while the San Francisco Conservation Committee claims birds “could collide with the structure.”

Parks officials said finding common ground is a balance, and it still plans to move forward with seeking a four-year extension.

“We’re the Parks Department. We care a great deal about protecting and stewarding this park and protecting our flora and fauna,” Ginsburg said.

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The park commission’s Operations Committee and Historic Preservation Commission are expected to hear the proposal in February.

Elizabeth Cook