News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Akron General

Lehmans


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Arts and Entertainment


Higbee alteration issue goes to Washington
Bridge to casino could cost developer historic tax credits for 82-year-old building
by WKSU's KABIR BHATIA


Reporter
Kabir Bhatia
 
Higbee's Department store operated here until 2002. Earlier this year, Cleveland's Horseshoe Casino opened in the building, which is part of the Tower City/Terminal Tower complex overlooking Public Square.
Courtesy of Kevin Niedermier
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
The Horseshoe Casino in downtown Cleveland will soon see its first blast of winter. And a downtown developer wants to shield gamblers from the cold with a skywalk to the converted Higbee Building. A hearing over the value of the project is scheduled for this Thursday – in Washington D.C. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports on controversy over the proposal. 
Higbee alteration issue goes to Washington

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (2:54)


Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Councilman Joe Cimperman are among those supporting the over-the-street walkway from the 
parking garage to the casino inside the 82-year-old Higbee Building.

Forest City Enterprises wants to build the walkway AND keeps its historic tax credits for the building, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

But the National Park Service, which administers the historic registry, has said no, and an appeal hearing is scheduled for this Thursday in Washington D.C.

Last week, a grassroots group calling itself OurCLE launched a petition drive aimed at convincing Cimperman and Jackson to withdraw support for the walkway, which would run diagonally over the intersection of Ontario Street and Prospect Ave.

The Mona Lisa
Plain Dealer Art & Architecture critic Steve Litt famously likened the project to “poking the Mona Lisa in the nose with a straw.” Renderings currently show the skywalk as a glass-and-steel tube.

“There’s a very, very, very slight chance that a walkway could be a stunning thing and almost and attraction in and of itself. You have to hire a brilliant designer and you have to put money into it.”

And Litt says that requires the designer to make some tough decisions to produce a work-of-art.

“Whether it's going to be held up by an array of cables or distinguished some other way.  If the glazing on it- the way glass is used -- is absolutely exquisite.   You know, there's very few visible opaque structural members that cross the street.  And the whole thing looks wafer thin like it’s levitating in space with a very elegant suspension system holding it up.”

Design done right
That kind of describes the bridge over Lee Rd., between the Cleveland Heights Library and the old YMCA. Litt cites it as an example of design done right. But in the case of the casino-

“I suspect, based on the earlier version that I saw. that we’re not going to get anything exciting.  And that it's going to be primarily a visual negative to the city.  It'll be a plus for the casino operator.  I don't know what argument they could bring other than an economic one.  That the casino will have more success if people are able to walk easily over the street from the visitor's center on the opposite side of the intersection and get into the casino without having to confront snow and slush and ice on the sidewalk.”

Avoiding the weather, not the city

“In general, you don't want an over-street walkway system in an American downtown situation.  Because it does all the things that the critics are saying: it removes pedestrian traffic from the sidewalk.  It hurts street-level retail.  Here, I think that argument is probably weakened by the fact that you just have a large number of people who want to go from one side of the intersection to another.  And [they] may not be interested in perusing the city.”

More to come?
Because the skywalk has that singular purpose, Litt does not believe this will touch off a wave of skywalk construction. But it may be the only option here, since an underground walkway would interfere with the mass of utilities running under Public Square.
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

U.S. Postal Service plans to close its sorting center in Akron
May as well close the center. I don't understand why they didn't do away with saturday mail a long time ago. We don't get our mail until sometimes 8pm, and in ...

The postal workers union is challenging mail-sorting closures in Ohio
Do not close the akron facilaty for mail processing. This will severly deminish mail service to the northeast ohio area, Cleveland can not handle this burden.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park OK's sharpshooters to thin deer herds
In this article you mention that the Mule Deer Foundation is a "hunting group" in reality the Mule Deer Foundation is a conservation group that is over 25 years...

Clarence Bozeman: In the driver's seat of history
I believe he was a teacher of mine as James Ford Rhodes. My favorite teacher of all time! Loved learning this part of his amazing history.

Cleveland RTA is moving Public Square bus stops beginning this week
I am very confused. Why are you taking one or more of the park and ride 246 out of service in the morning. I looking over the new schedule I see that there ar...

Canton school board will vote Wednesday on its high school merger
Great to see that THE REPOSITORY is advising a 'no' vote for now! Another point, besides all the Very accurate points already made against this move is the fac...

Some parents opting their students out of Common Core test
I am an 8th grader at a school in Allen County. I have just recently taken the ELA performance based assessment and found it extremely difficult. It asked me a ...

Fallout from the Ohio Supreme Court Munroe Falls ruling
The comment by Nathan Johnson from OEC is confusing. Instead of cities being 'emboldened' to craft zoning laws that were just stricken down by this ruling, comm...

Stopping sediment dumping in Lake Erie
Ah, yes, the Army Coro of Engineers, the geniuses that designed the levee system in New Orleans that has made the flooding worse due to no sediment reaching the...

Ohio charter school critic says reform bills are a good step
The cold truth is that these charter schools are offering services beyond the what the state tests can guage. Parents and students have a choice and they are ch...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University