Tech company owner sees aerial gondolas in Cleveland's future

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A local tech company owner wants Cleveland to become the first American city with an aerial gondola network.  Jon Stahl, who heads LeanDog, presented his proposal to Cleveland’s planning commission on Friday. The gondolas would look like glass elevators and soar around downtown Cleveland – like the skyway ride at Disneyland.  The aerial network would start at the municipal parking lot, near Burke Lakefront Airport, and end near Quicken Loans Arena and Progressive Field.

Stahl said 19 other cities are looking at plans like his. He wants Cleveland to be ahead of the pack.

“People could come to Cleveland and fly from one end of the city to the other. We need to shake this image of the burning river and the mistakes on the lake and do something truly innovative, "he said.

The gondolas would do more than ferry riders to a destination. He wants to use augmented reality to turn the cable cars into classrooms.

“We want to teach science, technology arts and math to students as they fly around the city. As they fly over the Port of Cleveland, we would use technology to educate them on the physics of the port and then maybe, when they get to the next station, we would have them apply that learning based on what they saw,” Stahl said.

Stahl needs the city’s buy-in so he can begin to raise $500,000 for a feasibility study. He couldn't say how much the entire network would cost, but he said the gondolas would start at $50,000. The price would increase for those with augmented reality. 

City planning commission members could not be reached for comment.


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