Last portions of Cincinnati’s Skywalk coming down

Updated: Oct. 19, 2020 at 5:48 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - It has been a part of Cincinnati for decades, but now after all these years, the last remaining pieces of the Skywalk will soon be gone.

Built during the 1970s, the Skywalk sounded futuristic and looked good on paper, but the elevated walkway turned out to be a bust.

The idea for the Skywalk came from a town that already had one, according to former Cincinnati mayor, Jim Tarbell.

“In Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1950, whatever it was, that made plenty of sense because it was colder than you know what there,” Tarbell explained.

But in Cincinnati, the idea behind the 1.3-mile series of elevated walkways that weaved its way through downtown buildings was a way to keep pedestrians safe from cars.

Tarbell says the second floor of retail stores took business away from the ground floor retailers and there just wasn’t enough residential development downtown at the time to support it.

“The overall scheme was not a good thing, so it was just a matter of time before it came down,” said Tarbell. “It was very expensive to maintain.”

Another former Cincinnati mayor expressed his disgruntled thoughts on the Skywalk when he spoke to the New York Times in 2005.

“The Skywalk, it’s ugly, and the space underneath it is dark and yucky,” said Charlie Luken. “The whole area is dead too much of the day.”

The Skywalk has come down in stages over the years and demolition crews this week are removing the last remnants of the old structure.

The last piece to go is the portion which connected Carew Tower and the building where Macy’s once stood.

Crews expect to be out until Saturday taking it down, so Fifth Street is going to be closed between Vine and Race until then.

[Partial closure of Fifth Street part of former Fountain Place redevelopment]

3CDC is removing the Skywalk to redevelop the former Fountain Place retail center. Once this is done, work will begin on renovations that will close the streets in this area for the next nine months.

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