Renewed push for skywalk at Cleveland’s Horseshoe Casino

Associated Press


The landlord of Cleveland’s Horseshoe Casino is again trying to clear the way for a skywalk to be built linking the facility to its parking garage.

Casino landlord Forest City Enterprises will make its case for the 170-foot glass skywalk at a Nov. 15 hearing with a National Park Service appeals officer, The Plain Dealer reported.

The company will ask that the agency overturn its decision rejecting a bridge to the second floor of the casino, which is inside the former Higbee store on Public Square. The Higbee Building is on the National Register of Historic Places, overseen by the National Park Service.

The skywalk could move forward without the agency’s approval, and needs only a building permit from Mayor Frank Jackson’s administration. But going that route would force Forest City to forfeit tax credits for the project.

Council members Matt Zone and Zack Reed, who oppose the project, said they hope they can apply political pressure to stop construction.

They said the skywalk would obstruct sweeping vistas envisioned as part of a 1903 plan for arranging public buildings in downtown Cleveland.

The Ohio Historic Preservation Office also opposes the skywalk, writing to the National Park Service that it would be a “conspicuous and out-of-character addition.”

Councilman Joe Cimperman, who supports the skywalk, said that if it’s properly designed, it could mesh with surroundings while benefiting development.

“Historic preservation, at its heart, is still about economic development,” he said.

Forest City filed its appeal of the National Park Service’s decision nearly a year ago and has repeatedly asked for a hearing.

The company argues that the skywalk would provide casino-goers with a sense of security and shelter from nasty weather as they walk to and from the parking garage.

In the meantime, the casino recently began a 24-hour shuttle that runs between the garage and casino every 10 minutes.

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