Tower would offer balloon rides

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Balloon-ride towerWow, you leave on vacation for a week, and miss this: Two Indianapolis businessmen are hoping to build a balloon-ride attraction within a 20-story, tubular steel tower. The French-designed “Aerophare” would not only be an instant landmark, but could give more lift to the city’s $3.6 billion visitor and convention industry, Chris O’Malley reports in this week’s IBJ. AeroPhare America has had initial discussions with management of White River State Park—the firm’s preferred location for the $2.5 million structure—about building it there. AeroPhare America owners Tim Coughlin and Tony Sandlin are scheduled to present their vision to the park’s board later this month. At the base of the structure, which measures only about 50 square feet, would be a small theater featuring a history of balloon flight, perhaps with packages tailored to schools. Admission would be in the range of $4 to $8 a head. The owners also see potential for advertising revenue. The tower can be used to put on a light show, and a football-shaped balloon could be ready in time for the 2012 Super Bowl. What do you think? More than just hot air?

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