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

Hennes Paynter Communications


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

Three exonerated of murder convictions from 18 years ago
Thanks heavens that none of them have been condemned to death. This alons should convince the USA to join the civilized world by abolishing the death penalty. E...

Kombucha: a sweet business brewed with fermented tea
Stevia is not an artificial sweetener. It is a plant. I have one growing in my sunroom. The leaves are dried and added to teas. It's harvested commercially and...

Bringing back ballet in Cleveland
I do think Ballet in Cleveland is doing good things, but the fact that director says "When we have flourishing companies like the New York City Ballet and the A...

Report confirms some Vietnam veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange
was in nam 1969 exposed va stated lost medical records was in lawsuit from 197? till settled 0 $ 2010 ? said all nam vets will get back disability till 198? jus...

Mentorship grant program redefines "faith-based" provision
Can't anyone have values, beliefs, and morals anymore? How is it anymore unconstitutional for a school partner with a "faith-based" organization than any other ...

Exploradio: The challenge of finding a healthy balance with technology
Thank you, Jeff, for another well done Exploradio. I always learn something interesting about what is happening in NE Ohio.

Northeast Ohio's transgender community rallies around restroom issue
A good first step would be for Cleveland to require restaurants to have a public restroom. Cleveland is the only city I've ever been in where restaurants somet...

Vapor shops say tobacco tax hikes could hit them hard
Maybe you should be DOING a study, since every time you've tried to villianize them all that's happened was the opposite. I'm not a fan of alcohol that's flavor...

New law gives access to birth records to Ohio adoptees
Can siblings also look for their missing brother or sister? And how do we go about it?

Ida McKinley's tiara comes home, with the help of "Pawn Stars"
I donated to the fund to keep the tiara at the museum where I believe it belongs. I took my 16 year old granddaughter to the showing I dont think it will be som...

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