Reno City Council members on Wednesday approved easements for the Nevada System of Higher Education for skywalk airspace, footings and a fence at the University of Nevada, Reno.
A special use permit to construct the covered, open-air pedestrian skyway at UNR was approved in August 2020. A scheduled completion date was set for spring 2022. It would connect Morrill Hall to Lake Street over East Ninth Street on the south side of campus.
“It provides an airspace easement for the skyway, also an easement for footings that extend a foot and a half into the public right of way, as well as the fence that’s required by condition of approval,” said Arlo Stockham, Reno community development director.
Councilwoman Jenny Brekhus said the city’s master plan for downtown values walkability and pedestrian activity. She questioned how the area will function with a fence.
“How are park users and other people going to avail themselves of being able to walk in the area and then up those historic steps?” Brekhus asked.
Pat Martinez, who represented UNR, said preparation work for the skywalk has begun and the fence easement is a safety issue.
“It is not to restrict access to a park,” Martinez said. “It is one of the discussion points of the special use permit that a fence be put in to limit walking across the street—not at a crosswalk, but jaywalking across the street.”
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that Reno City Council approved easements for the UNR skywalk, but no funding was involved.