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Millennium Hotel demolition means one fewer skywalk left in downtown Cincinnati

Posted at 6:29 PM, Apr 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-14 18:30:28-04

CINCINNATI — An artifact of a bygone era in Downtown's history came down Wednesday when crews dismantled the skywalk path crossing over Sixth Street from the Millennium Hotel.

The dismantling was part of the larger demolition project underway on the site of the shuttered, blighted hotel, which began last month.

The city began construction on Cincinnati Skywalk nearly 50 years ago. When engineers considered it "complete" in 1997, the so-called "skybridges" stretched more than three miles across Downtown's most central streets, just a few dozen feet above street level.

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In 2002, the city began dismantling them due to lack of maintenance and nuisance complaints. By 2017, there was little more than a mile left of the $16 million investment.

At its peak, the skywalks connected what is now Duke Energy Convention Center through the heart of Downtown, past Fountain Square, all the way to Riverfront Stadium, by way of the Atrium buildings at Main and Fourth streets.

Beyond being, as then-mayor Charlie Luken once said, "dark and yucky," critics of the Skywalk argued they discouraged foot traffic on Downtown streets, leading to a vacant landscape for businesses with street-level storefronts.