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Some locals say DNC street closures won’t dampen excitement
Updated: August 30, 2012 at 5:21 pm
Originally published: Aug. 8, 2012, 4 p.m.
Updated: Aug. 30, 2012, 5:25 p.m.
Click images below to expand maps detailing planned vehicular and pedestrian restrictions during the Democratic National Convention, Sept. 2-7.
CHARLOTTE — Local community members lodged mixed reviews of the planned street closures and security plans for the 2012 Democratic National Convention hosted in Uptown Sept. 4-6.
On Facebook and in short interviews with qnotes, some community members said they were planning on staying in town and others said they would avoid Uptown at all costs.
“I want to be here for it,” said Todd Hayes, a paralegal who lives and works Uptown. “I’m excited about it coming.”
Hayes said he’ll continue to go to work in his Uptown office while the convention is in town. Other employees won’t be in the Center City offices, but he doesn’t expect any inconveniences for his daily walk to and from work.
“Both my home and work are outside any of the street closures or checkpoints,” he said.
On Aug. 8, law enforcement agencies including the U.S. Secret Service released details of its security plans and street closures. Nearly three-to-four blocks on every side of Time Warner Cable Arena will see vehicular and pedestrian restrictions. The same goes for areas around Bank of America Stadium, where officials are also planning on shutting down the leg of I-277 between I-77 and Independence Blvd.
Dan Mauney lives at a condo building near the stadium, where President Barack Obama is scheduled to make his renomination speech. He’s leaving town for a portion of the convention due to prior travel arrangements.
“Part of me wonders if I made the right decision leaving all this activity,” Mauney said. “I think it is going to be a time to really get out and be proud that you live in Charlotte. It’s going to be a great time to meet other people. I’ve never been to a political convention before and the fact that it is in our home city, it will be exciting to see what it brings.”
Mauney said he won’t be inconvenienced by the street closures around his home.
“We knew we were going to be in the zone when they announced it just because of our proximity to the stadium,” he noted. “We’re used to dealing with it on a regular basis because of the stadium events. I’m not really surprised.”
Hayes, who is also volunteering to help visitors navigate transportation, restaurants and other local needs, said he’ll plan on getting out and about during the convention. Being a part of the action will be stirring, he said, though he’ll probably stay at home during Obama’s speech.
“I’d just as soon watch it on TV where I can get a better view,” he said laughing.
Other community members offered their feedback on Facebook. One said street closures in Charlotte cause too many problems. He and others say they’ll spend time outside of the Center City.
As for security, Hayes said he’s confident all will be well. His condo’s management company is cautiously preparing for the worst, but his condo association, of which he is president, believes activity around the convention will be peaceful.
“When I hear what [the property management is] thinking could happen, I’m thinking 1968,” Hayes said, noting the tumultuous protests and police response at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. “I don’t think we’ll see that kind of thing happening.”
Mauney said he’s grateful for the stepped-up security measures and hopes it will ensure a safe event for all attendees.
“With all the elected officials, the president and cabinet members and others, you want them to be safe and make everyone else safe and you want to be able to control who is where and what people are doing,” Mauney said.
An event of this magnitude, Mauney said, will bring its challenges but he’s anticipating the “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” the DNC will give Charlotte.
“You get the bad with the good and this is not that bad,” he said.
Community leaders pictured (left to right): Tommy Feldman, Pocket Rocket, Editor/Artist; Shane Windmeyer, Campus Pride, Executive Director; Bishop Tonyia Rawls, Unity Fellowship Church of Charlotte; Rodney Tucker, Time Out Youth, Executive Director.
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About the author: Matt Comer is the editor of QNotes, first hired to serve in the role in October 2007. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 704-531-9988, ext. 202. Follow him online at facebook.com/matthew.mh.comer or at twitter.com/themattcomer.