Cleveland Skylift takes next step toward developing cable car network over Cleveland skyline

Cleveland State engineering department joins team

CLEVELAND - It's a bold, innovative proposal that seems to be gaining momentum among northeast Ohio business and political leaders

Phase one of the Cleveland Skylift project is taking shape, a proposal that calls for the construction of a cable car network that would fly passengers 150 feet above some of Cleveland's greatest attractions.

The project is being led by Jon Stahl and his Cleveland-based LeanDog Software Studio .

Stahl told NewsChannel5 he received a $9.4 million bid for phase one of the project from cable car giant Leitner Poma.

He is hoping phase one will be part of the new Cleveland Convention Center hotel project.

"What we're envisioning here is hopefully flying this cable car off the top of the hotel, with the cooperation of the county and Hilton of course, right down here between the rock hall and science center, integrating with our brand new waterfront," explained Stahl.  "We're waiting for one of the three developers to get selected. We've met with two out of three."

Stahl also announced the Cleveland State University Fenn College of Engineering has now joined the development team.

Fenn College of Engineering Director of Advancement Paul Pawlaczyk told NewsChannel5 seniors at the college will contribute to the project.

"They'll be doing soil sampling, they'll be doing some surveying, and they're doing it for a senior project," said Pawlaczyk. "They have a six-month project where they'll come back to the organization with some recommendations."

Cleveland Skylift Project Manager Matt Volosin told NewsChannel5 he believes the project is financially viable. Volosin expects riders will be charged less than $5 round trip, with a projected 1 million riders annually.

"Their quote right now has 28 cars looping between those locations, and each car will hold approximately 6 to 8 people," said Volosin.

Stahl explained Cleveland Skylift would operate year-round, and be able to cope with winter weather, and stay open during high winds of up to 50 miles per hour.

Cleveland Skylift would also give passengers an on-board video, audio, and interactive digital experience.

"We actually call it transpertainment, so it's transportation and it's entertainment," said Stahl. "So we're software geeks. What we want to do is build this really cool, amazing in car experience. When you get in a car, based on who you are, and why you're in Cleveland, we can customize the content for you."

The complete Cleveland Skylift project calls for 11 cable car stations that would transport passengers above the Cleveland shoreline at speeds of up to 26 MPH, quickly connecting riders to a series of Cleveland hotspots. 

Stahl is hoping to gather additional political support for the project in the coming weeks.

"Something this iconic can be used to maybe win one of the political conventions in 2016, or even the proposed Great Lakes expo," said Stahl.

Watch an aerial video showing the view from the proposed skylift's route below, and for more videos and information on the project, click here.

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