HORSESHOE CASINO’S “OPPORTUNITY SKYWALK” IN DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OHIO: A VISUAL MONSTROSITY

Submitted by Satinder P S Puri on Thu, 01/23/2014 - 21:23.

The skywalk, which officially opened on 12-31-13, is located diagonally across the intersection of Superior Avenue and Ontario Street.

Because of its large dimensions: 175 ft. long, approximately 16 ft. wide and approx. 16 ft. high, the skywalk is a visual monstrosity. It is out of scale and just does not fit in the cityscape.

The bottom of the skywalk will have a minimum 16.5 feet vertical clearance above the roadway – a Department of Transportation requirement – to prevent over-height vehicles like tractor-trailers and garbage trucks from hitting the skywalk. Let us hope – this never happens

The skywalk is basically a 3-d truss structure – a structural type used in early 20th century Railroad bridges with modifications in keeping with state-of-the-art structural engineering.

The skywalk connects the Welcome Center (right corner in the above photograph) to the Horseshoe Casino (Phase 1) in the historic Higbee building (left corner).

 

NHRP STATUS:

The Higbee building, as part of the Terminal Tower, opened in 1931. In 1976, the Terminal Tower was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NHRP). The National Parks Service refused to permit construction of the skywalk. So, in 2013, the Casino’s owner purchased the Higbee building, paid off groups that had benefited with tax credits from the NHRP status and later proceeded with the construction of the skywalk. The Higbee building is now a Cleveland city landmark.

“OPPORTUNITY SKYWALK”:

The SLPA (SAVE LOWER PROSPECT AVENUE) group on facebook has dubbed the skywalk as the “Opportunity Skywalk” – because, according to the owners, the skywalk, is supposed to attract more visitors to the casino by keeping the patrons away from downtown’s “undesirables” and Northeast Ohio’s sometimes nasty weather. The additional revenues generated should add to Cleveland’s prosperity. We will have to wait and see if the “Opportunity Skywalk” does indeed add to the city’s long-awaited prosperity.

OPPOSITION TO CONSTRUCTING THE SKYWALK:

The SAVE LOWER PROSPECT AVENUE (SLPA) group on facebook, as well as other groups, opposed the construction of the skywalk for the following reasons:

*The skywalk would permanently deface the historic Higbee building.

*By channeling part of the foot traffic through the skywalk – there would be a decrease in the number of pedestrians at street level which would not only reduce the vibrancy in foot traffic at street level but would also reduce the number of possible customers for local businesses.

(The NO TO SKYWALK (Horseshoe Casino's Visual Monstrosity in Downtown Cleveland, Ohio) signs were pasted on photographs on the SLPA (SAVE LOWER PROSPECT AVENUE) group's facebook page.)

COST: The skywalk cost $7 million.

REFERENCES:

*Link to SAVE LOWER PROSPECT AVENUE group on facebook.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/211966452169552/

*“Rock Gaming changes course on Cleveland casino by asking for an overhead walkway and demolition of the Columbia Building”, Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer, May 19, 2011
http://blog.cleveland.com/architecture/2011/05/post_5.html

“Discussing The Cleveland Horseshoe Casino's Proposed Skywalk”, Joe Baur, Nov. 1, 2012
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=13&cad=rja&...

*“our cle' group forms to oppose casino skywalk, but faces an uphill battle”, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=15&cad=rja&...

*“If Other Cities Are Demolishing Skywalks, Why Does Cleveland Want a New One?”, Sarah Goodyear, April 15, 2013
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=11&ved=0CCM...

“Cleveland casino's skywalk plan rejected by federal agency”, Thomas Ott, The Plain Dealer, May 9, 2013
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&v...

*”Horseshoe Casino Cleveland skywalk: What do you think? (Poll)”, The Plain Dealer, June  20, 2013
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&v...

*”Horseshoe Casino Cleveland begins work on skywalk”, Thomas Ott, The Plain Dealer, Sept. 13, 2013
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&s...

*“Dan Gilbert’s land bridge is a blight on the cityscape”, CLEVELAND FROWNS, Dec. 24, 2013

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&v...

* “Horseshoe Cleveland opens $7 million pedestrian skywalk”, Downtown Cleveland Alliance, Dec. 30, 2013
 http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=17&cad=rja&ved=0CFYQFjAGOAo&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.downtowncleveland.com%2Fmedia%2Farchives%2F2013%2Fdecember%2Fhorseshoe-cleveland-opens-%247-million-pedestrian-skywalk.aspx&ei=coXhUuyLHOes2wXJ0IGIDw&usg=AFQjCNF_Rm_xlWSED7x4jIrcXRv8ncKYzQ

* YouTube Clip: Skywalk – Time Lapse
 http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=14&cad=rja&sqi=2&ved=0CGoQtwIwDQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DV8iNFLS4kys&ei=54ThUp_FOubm2AWIoYCoDA&usg=AFQjCNEE4PD3psDgTc1TbdsKEdyTadRCHA

*For additional references, and there are so many, please do a google search.

 

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