Businesses, residents have mixed reactions to downtown RNC fencing

Downtown CLE businesses closing due to protest fears

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Republican National Convention is four days away and crews have started to move the barricades that will be used to secure the area around Quicken Loans Arena into the middle of East 9th Street, along with fencing.

The barriers will be set up along the security zone, which surrounds The Q and Progressive Field. The 10-foot fencing is along the perimeter of the security and events zone, including Lakeside Avenue and East 9th Street.

Fencing will keep traffic away from RNC venues and filter pedestrian traffic into those areas.

"I'm like, 'Wow, where did this come from?' So I feel, like, caged in, really," resident Robert Gambrell said

People really got the sense Thursday that life in downtown Cleveland was about to change, especially businesses that will be barricaded by fencing. It seems that while hospitality businesses within the security fencing will have a lot to gain from foot traffic, most of the retail businesses are already counting their losses.

"This is going to be like the (Cavs championship) parade and Game 7," said Winking Lizard manager Kevin Quigley. "No history of what to go off of, so no idea of what to expect. But we're ready."

The owner of the Buffalo Wild Wings just a few doors down agrees and is trying to stay positive.

"We'll take it all in stride," Richard Andrews said.

But other business owners, like Mike Rubin of Prospect Music, say it's of no benefit to his business. He's packing away some of his merchandise and getting ready to close up for the entire week. The old Erie Street Bookstore is also getting ready to close for the week.

"We're just hoping we can come out of this unscathed and eventually get back to business as usual," Rubin said.

Those who work downtown should be prepared for a little more stop and go traffic.

The convention will be in town from July 18 through July 21.

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