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Hosting RNC will benefit Tampa residents, businesses

Published: Thursday, March 29, 2012

Updated: Thursday, March 29, 2012 00:03

As the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Tampa nears its Aug. 27-30 date, the pressure is on for Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and the city of Tampa to figure out the logistics of the enormous event.

Angela Deese, operations manager for downtown Tampa accounting firm Crowe Horwath, even told the Tampa Bay Times, “What we’ve been told is this is the biggest event that Tampa has ever seen and ever will see.”

When thinking of the largest events to take place in Tampa, the 2009 Super Bowl game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals may stand out. Yet according to Politico, the RNC is expected to be the equivalent of five of the past Super Bowl games, with about 1,000 events taking place at the convention.

The RNC does indeed seem poised to become the biggest event that Tampa has seen. Though the event will interrupt some businesses and systems — and provide great growth for others — the sacrifices will be worth it for the advantages provided for both proponents and protesters of the RNC.

For supporters of the Republican Party, the chance to witness the political process during the convention is not one to be missed. Approximately 50,000 people are expected to visit the Tampa area for the convention, including about 15,000 members of the media and 2,286 delegates, according to gopconvention2012.com.

The advantages are arguably even greater for those planning to protest the RNC. Buckhorn announced his intentions Wednesday to create a public viewing area and parade route for the more than 15,000 protesters expected to attend, according to the Times. For those who can’t afford the $1 million in liability insurance for events expected to attract 200 or more, the West Central Florida Federation of Labor and Fight Back Florida have already applied for permits.

Many financial efforts will go toward advertising Hillsborough County and encouraging visitors to return to the area, something that can only benefit Tampa in this economy.

Though there are some fears that the RNC can interrupt the growth of businesses trying to rebuild in the economy, if businesses play their cards right it should be an opportunity for growth rather than a detriment.

While certain businesses and schools expect to close down or cut hours for the time period, others are simply encouraging carpooling or telecommuting as an option. The circuit court and the county commission plan to either reduce or limit activities in downtown Tampa to avoid bringing inmates into the crowded area, and may move them to the Plant City jail, according to the Times.

Though employees of certain systems and businesses may take a hit, commerce should boom. The Times expect all hotels within 35 minutes of the Tampa Bay Times Forum to be full, and Buckhorn expects local restaurants in the area to receive a lot of customers.

Though the RNC may pose some minor challenges to Tampa residents, it is sure to benefit the area — bringing a lot of attention to what may very well be the biggest event Tampa’s ever seen.

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