With dates set, Cleveland begins to gear up for Republican National Convention

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CLEVELAND - The announcement that the Republican Party has settled on July 18-21 as the dates next year for its national convention has planners in Cleveland gearing up to host an event that will thrust the city into the international spotlight.

"Now, with that certainty, people can begin to plan and do things they need to do to be successful," says Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.

Hotels can now block out those dates to save for convention-goers and delegates. And restaurants know the dates when they will need extra staff.

There will be some inconveniences downtown and they will start sooner than the convention.

For example, improvements to Public Square will mean the closing of both Ontario and Superior Avenues in the near future.

And during the convention, some downtown workers will not be able to access their normal parking garages.

But, people we spoke with say the problems are worth it.

"We're all super-excited, we all work downtown here," says Carol Bushnell, "and it's fantastic for the city."

There are also reports that the GOP may announce one of its early debates will take place in Cleveland.

Mayor Jackson says the GOP has not expressed a lot of concern over recent issues in the Cleveland Police Division, and he added that he still intends to strike a deal with the Justice Department on what policing in the city will look like going forward.

"I am intending to do this, and do it right," the Mayor says, "and this is too important, and Cleveland has a great opportunity to do some things that may have been difficult at other times."

Mayor Jackson says a lot of works remains to be done.

"We'll be ready," he says, "when it's time for the party, we'll be there."


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