Downtown businesses and city leaders prepare for Trump's Lexington visit

Published: Oct. 23, 2019 at 7:44 PM EDT
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In less than two weeks, President Donald Trump will be in downtown Lexington.

"It's going to probably a mess downtown," Chris Soulis of Goodfellas said.

Businesses are already prepping for the extra crowd and extra security. In some other cities with recent presidential visits, nearby businesses have just closed up for the day.

"No no never, we couldn't, it's the beginning of pizza week," Soulis said.

Monday, Nov. 4th is the start of pizza week in Lexington, and it's also the eve of a hotly watched governors election. This rally is a Keep American Great Rally as part of the president's 2020 re-election efforts, but it certainly is seen as a major effort to support Governor Matt Bevin.

"I think what it will do is get people to pay attention to the fact there's an election the next day and I'm grateful he is coming," Bevin said.

"I don't think anybody's coat tails are long enough to save Matt Bevin from himself," Lieutenant Governor candidate Jacqueline Coleman said.

Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton and other city leaders fielded many questions about the visit, talking through some of that at a council work session.

"Our standard is about protection of free speech and safety for everyone," Gorton said.

The mayor explained extra costs do come with visits by national figures with Secret Service protection and that there is no law allowing a city to charge for those costs or that requires the campaigns to reimburse the city. It is expected that more than 10,000 people will be inside Rupp Arena for the rally.

That 10,000 is what triggers an agreement in place between the Lexington Center and the city when it comes to providing extra security.

"Lexington Police Department will provide traffic control for that event if it is over 10,000 people. Not necessarily security in its true sense, in other words officers inside the event," Public Safety Commissioner Ken Armstrong said.

Some businesses in the area that won't benefit from the extra people in downtown are working on plans to either have their employees work from home that day or to only be open for a half day due to expected traffic issues.

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