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Economy

Akron Businesses Prepare for Cleveland's Republican National Convention

photo of Tom Lekan
KABIR BHATIA
/
WKSU

Akron businesses are gearing up for an influx of visitors this summer as Cleveland hosts the Republican National Convention.

The RNC will be based at The Q, but Akron business leaders expect that convention-goers will want to see more than just downtown Cleveland.

Bars and restaurants in Summit County have until next month to apply for expanded liquor licenses during the RNC, which would allow alcohol to be served until 4 a.m. Security consultant Tom Lekan says mixing drinks and lots of people will create a lot of extra work.

“A lot of this activity is going to create a lot of jobs and there’s going to be a need for contract services to fill those. If your restaurant is running 'til 4 in the morning, you probably have to have outsiders help you clean it, too.”

Lekan says convention organizers expect 50,000 visitors will be here in the region from Westlake to Mentor to Akron.

Gregg Mervis is president of the Akron Summit Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, and he says hotels and restaurants throughout Northeast Ohio should see a bump from late June until early August.

“You’ll have the Bridgestone Invitational, the [Pro] Football Hall [of Fame], the Twins’ Day Festival, the activities going on at Lock 3. You’ll have the All-American Soap Box Derby. The Eastern League All-Star Game will be at Canal Park -- hosted by the Rubber Ducks -- as well as the Home-Run Derby. So this will be a ton of activities and great exposure for this community. So there will be reasons for people here to stay here and do things; it’s a great reason for people to come and live here.”

Mervis says attractions like the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad already have reservations in place for RNC visitors, and there will be a website launching in mid-June listing what's happening throughout the region. Close to 3,000 police officers are being brought in for added security.