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Mayor Buckhorn Urges Downtown Businesses to Stay Open During GOP Convention

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Steve Newborn

It's less than two weeks to go before the Republican National Convention invades Tampa. But many people are still unclear about how it will affect those who live and work in and around downtown.  So Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is holding several town hall meetings to alleviate those concerns.

The questions from the standing-room-only crowd at the Florida Aquarium ranged from how a dogsitter could get onto Harbour Island to how long it would take for emergency services to react in the residential areas near the St. Pete Times Forum. But the most pointed questions came from people who work downtown - and are queasy about possible violence from protestors. Mayor Bob Buckhorn said the several thousand police officers on duty should put a damper on any concerns.

"We want the world to see a vibrant downtown," he told the crowd. "We want to see pedestrians on the street. We don't want the world to see a ghost town. So I think for those of you who have downtown businesses, it's going to be a great opportunity."

And he says there's a huge potential upside to the demonstrations - "protestors have to eat, too."

Mayor Buckhorn will have another town hall meeting tonight at Stetson University's Tampa campus and Wednesday night at the Kate Jackson Community Center in Hyde Park.

Click the image below to watch a video of what Mayor Buckhorn and Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor had to say about the upcoming convention.


Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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