Cleveland's SkyLift loss could be Canton's gain (video)

Cleveland's SkyLift loss could be Canton's gain
Updated: Dec. 12, 2017 at 2:04 PM EST
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CANTON, OH (WOIO) - For years LeanDog, a software company in Cleveland, has been trying to get a SkyLift project off the ground but it just won't fly.

The idea was to have high-tech and interactive gondolas travel the Lake Erie waterfront and into downtown with several stops along the way.

This project has been met with several hurdles.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has strict regulations surrounding Burke Lakefront Airport.

The Port of Cleveland would have issues with the cable cars crossing the Cuyahoga River and shipping lanes.

There are several bridges in the city of Cleveland that have moving parts that could also be an issue.

On the city of Cleveland's side working on this project was Donn Angus in the Planning Department.

Angus no longer works in Cleveland because he's taken the same position in Canton.

New home?

With Angus in Canton the Skylift may have found a new home.

Angus has applied for a $25,000 grant from the Stark County Regional Planning Commission to be awarded or denied in January.

That money would be used for a feasibility study to see if there's a way to connect downtown Canton to the Pro-Football Hall of Fame and its massive Village expansion project.

"The stops would be either inside the Pro Football Hall of Fame village or immediately outside of it along Fulton Road and Downtown Market Square," Angus said.

Not only would the gondolas be transporting you to your destination they could also be taking you to a virtual world.

The idea is to have the ride be interactive.

"Yes the vision is to create an immersive experience once inside of the cars utilizing a digital experience of either virtual reality, augmented reality or perhaps mixed reality," Angus said. "So once you are within the cars you will not only be transported between two points (the Hall of Fame and downtown), but to another reality."

Although a lot of work had been done in Cleveland, including renderings, site maps and even a promotional video none of that work has been done for Canton's project.

This video was used to explain the digital experience riders could have with the Cleveland project:

This idea is in the extremely early stages.

"The planning grant will be utilized to further explore the feasibility of the proposal, to look at the route to make certain that it is the most appropriate, as well as developing artistic renderings that will be utilized in the capital campaign," Angus said.

Speaking of a capital campaign, Angus said the idea is to raise the money and not have the taxpayers in Canton or the county footing the bill.

"The plan is not to have the city of Canton carry the financial burden. We are looking at a private investor developing the 'TransporTainment' concept, naming rights, etc; or even a public/private partnership," Angus said.

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