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Cleveland skywalks still under fire
Casino pedestrian bridge design and future of AmeriTrust bridge both receiving scrutiny

Kabir Bhatia
In The Region:
The futures of two of Cleveland's over-street bridges -- one proposed and one unused – are under review by city leaders.

Forest City and Rock Gaming want a skywalk to shield potential gamblers as they enter the Horseshoe Casino in the Higbee Building downtown. The downtown building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, and making major changes could void historic tax credits. The National Park Service vetoed the skywalk plan in 2011, but Forest City appealed late last year.

Plain Dealer architecture critic Steve Litt has blasted the appearance of the skywalk, and says it hurts street-level retail by removing pedestrians from sidewalks.

He points to the dormant AmeriTrust complex as proof of the social damage skywalks can do. The county is planning to move operations there by 2014, and a rusty bridge over Prospect Avenue connects to the parking garage.
Cleveland skywalks still under fire

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“What I’m hearing from some readers is that it’s a very anti-Democratic image for Cuyahoga County to have a skywalk. One presumes that the County Executive and council members are going to be parking on the fourth floor of this garage and then scurrying across the gerbil tube to go their offices in a way that precludes having any contact with the hoi polloi on the street below.”

Skywalk opponents have started petitions to kill the casino bridge plan and demolish the AmeriTrust skywalk during construction of the new county offices. They cite Baltimore and Cincinnati as two cities that have removed the structures in recent years.
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