CLEVELAND -- The debate about downtown skywalks is being rekindled by news that Rock Gaming intends to purchase its Higbee building casino home.
Forest City Enterprises now owns it.
That deal would increase the odds of a controversial downtown skyway between the casino and its garage getting built by likely resolving issues involving historic tax credits.
Most casino visitors interviewed by Channel 3 News expressed overwhelming support for a protected skywalk, sheltering them from rainy, cold and windy weather and reducing chances of pedestrian/car mishaps.
But skywalk opponents are ramping up their arguments that the skywalk would be an unsightly addition to a new downtown, would make the streets more dangerous by keeping visitors and eyes away, and make it harder for merchants to succeed.
They also claim the skyway is at odds with Dan Gilbert's promise to have the casino be a catalyst for downtown activity and his redevelopment efforts for reviving Downtown Detroit.
Mayor Frank Jackson and Downtown's Councilman Joe Cimperman both support this particular skywalk but say they are not championing or advocating a network of skywalks and that this one makes sense.
Critics point out other cities, including Cincinnati and Baltimore, are in the midst of efforts to remove and dismantle skywalks that did not have the desired impact.