Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Presidential Visit Means Modifications for Downtown Events, Businesses

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Presidential Visit Means Modifications for Downtown Events, Businesses

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - Kim McCluer spent more than a year organizing Talent on Parade's national competition in Oklahoma City, including a site visit, coordination with four downtown hotels and renting space at the Cox Convention Center.

Then the president of the United States came to town.

"It's been 18 months in planning for us and a few days of changing plans," said McCluer, owner of the Kansas-based dance competition that holds shows across the country.

President Barack Obama gave only six days' notice that he would visit Oklahoma. He planned to spend the night in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, which has prompted heightened security, street closures and strict rules about when and where people can park. Tighter restrictions were expected after business hours.

McCluer said she had to move out of her own hotel room and reassign some of the competition spaces; a post on the group's Facebook page warned parents about traveling through downtown.

The White House has not said where the president is staying.

Downtown businesses have also felt the pressure of Obama's visit. The Buzz Coffee and Cafe, located in the Underground below Broadway and Main, is usually busy at 10 a.m.

"It's nonexistent compared to what it normally is," owner Alison Sisson said Wednesday. "I think business coming into downtown will be a mess. I think that's going to throw everything off."

Obama's visit didn't affect her operating hours, but Sisson said she would try to leave downtown as soon as possible to avoid getting caught up in security.

Oklahoma City Police Capt. Bobby Tompkins declined to discuss details, including how many officers were called into duty, until after the president leaves. He did, however, say that the police are accustomed to VIP visits.

"Being that he's staying here overnight, it's a little bit more for us," Tompkins said. …

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