by CHRIS HEGARTY / MyFoxTampaBay.com
TAMPA (FOX 13) - As the Republican National Convention got underway Tuesday, the city of Tampa took center stage and was getting mostly good reviews.
RNC chair Reince Priebus called the convention to order as delegates milled around the convention floor talking to the media and taking in the atmosphere.
Florida delegate AJ Matthews is a retired Tampa police officer who is also working security at the convention. He said everything so far has been "absolutely great."
"The real credit belongs to all the volunteers, all the law enforcement, all the people, all the businesses that have opened up their arms, opened up their hearts, and welcomed 50,000 people to Tampa, Florida," Matthews said.
Delegates had one nearly universal complaint: Getting to and from places in the city and within the convention.
"It's been a little hard to navigate," said Gayle Cannon, from Lake City, Florida, adding that she found Atlanta much easier to get around.
Delegate John Davies, from San Diego, who is staying at the Marriott Waterfront, said that even going the short distance from hotel to the convention has proven to be a long trip.
"It's a challenge, it's a real challenge," he said.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn took his brief time on stage to thank the RNC for choosing Tampa, and give them a glimpse of the city's history.
"We were built by people who worked hard and dreamed big. Immigrant families who came from Germany, Spain, Italy and Cuba. Cigar rollers, port workers, cattle rustlers. They were the economic engine that powered Tampa Bay," he said.
Buckhorn and 2012 Host Committee Chair Al Austin both made a point to invite the delegates back.
"We trust you will enjoy our city and our hospitality, and most important, that you come back often," Austin said. "Thank you for stimulating our economy."
Buckhorn closed by saying Tampa was "open for business."
"Today, we are a city that represents all that is good about America," he said. "We are one of the fastest growing cities in the country. We have been called one of the best cities in the country to do business…we are ready to embrace all that the future holds."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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