Jul 30, 2014
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Tampa Officials Prepare for Delegates, Protesters During RNC

Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Police Chief Jane Castor briefed the media during a morning press conference at the Tampa Convention Center today, Aug. 28.

Tampa Officials Prepare for Delegates, Protesters During RNC Tampa Officials Prepare for Delegates, Protesters During RNC

With day one of the Republican National Convention under their belts, Tampa officials prepared for the arrival of delegates this afternoon and the possibility of additional protesters on city streets.

During a 30-minute press conference at the Tampa Convention Center, Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Police Chief Jane Castor updated members of the media on the convention's happenings, from graffiti to the tropical storm that wasn't.

A few highlights:

  • RNC delegates arrive at 2 p.m. today, so traffic from delegate buses is expected to become heavy around 1 p.m. today.
  • About 6,000 sandbags were filled in the city of Tampa in the last few days, but no significant flooding was reported.
  • A small tornado touched down near the Port of Tampa, causing minor tree damage.
  • Minor graffiti was found in the city of Tampa, but was painted over by city officials.
  • One person was arrested on Monday for violation of the event zone ordinance after being spotted wearing a face mask.
  • Protesters have flocked to areas of town that include Ybor City, marching down Seventh Avenue and near International Mall.

As day two got under way, Buckhorn said the RNC and Tropical Storm Isaac, which is projected to veer into Louisiana instead of Tampa Bay, have placed the city's name on a national stage.

Buckhorn projected a $150-$175 million infusion to Tampa's economy this week, which is an estimation of funds raised by the host committee and from delegate spending.

But the economic impact of the RNC was yet to be seen by some business owners, some who didn't experience many patrons after day one's events were canceled, and others whose businesses were rented by delegates, forcing them to close for public use.

"There will be businesses that will won't do as good as they hope, but also, a multitude that will do better than they've done all year," Buckhorn said.

Meanwhile, Buckhorn said Tuesday's events would serve as a gauge for the rest of the week.

"Today," he said, "will be a test for us."

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