RNC brings big, temporary changes to Downtown Tampa - FOX 13 News

RNC brings big, temporary changes to Downtown Tampa

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Saturday things were relatively calm along the streets of Downtown Tampa. That will soon change. Saturday things were relatively calm along the streets of Downtown Tampa. That will soon change.
TAMPA (FOX 13) -

As Emily Hartman strolled through downtown Tampa early Saturday morning it seemed as though she ran into a police officer at every turn.

The law enforcement presence in the area was impossible to miss, just two days prior to the Republican National Convention.

"I've been a little bit nervous," Hartman explained. "There have been a lot of helicopters and security people around."

The Bay area woman resides in Downtown Tampa and knew a long time ago that the RNC was coming. But Hartman and several of her neighbors were surprised how much the upcoming event has changed the feel of the area.

"It's different; it's definitely different," said Cisco Malpartieasmith who also lives Downtown.

Tim Scholl's reaction to the changes was a little more negative.

"It feels like a jail," he said.

Malpartieasmith added he felt a little uncomfortable as he walked his dog toward the Tampa Bay Times Forum – site of the RNC.

"I notice little things like cameras on every intersection that weren't there before," he said. "There were some people following us when we were walking on a certain street."

While the look feel, even the sound of downtown Tampa is different some people who call it home say they're comforted by the visible show of law enforcement. 

"It actually makes me feel safer that we're prepared," said New Yorker turned Floridian Lynn Couchera. "I'm very grateful for all the security."

Life in Tampa will be a lot different for the next week, at least until the convention wraps up Thursday.

The law enforcement presence could last until next weekend local officials say.

Hartman is very eager to see what the biggest political event ever hosted in the Bay area brings.

"I'm excited to see what's going to happen," she said.

The wait is almost over.  

 

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