City of Cleveland gives progress report on 2016 Republican National Convention

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CLEVELAND- Cleveland officials provided an update on the 2016 Republican National Convention on Wednesday, a year away from the event.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish and President of the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee David Gilbert briefed the media and community members on the city's progress.

"One year is an important milestone to mark," Budish said. "We will be ready."

Budish said the Hilton Cleveland Downtown construction and the Public Square renovations are on schedule for completion for the RNC.

The Cleveland 2016 Host Committee is focused on 10 different initiatives, including fundraising, security and welcome events. Gilbert said they have secured nearly 12,000 hotel rooms, 47 venues and 1,700 volunteers for the hundreds of events that will take place during the convention.

“The benefit for this community is not just the dollars spent during the week of the convention, but how this positions Cleveland for the future,” Gilbert said. "This isn't about building a retirement fund in a week."

Chair of the Republican National Convention Standing Committee on Arrangements Steve King also addressed the possible impact on Cleveland sports. He said the Cleveland Indians are already working with Major League Baseball, and will be on the road the week before and the week during the convention. The Cavs present a different challenge.

“If you can promise me the Cavs will win the NBA Championship in four straight games, we’ll be good,” King said.

The 41st Republican National Convention will be in Cleveland July 18, 2016 to July 21, 2016.

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Jen Steer July 15, 201510:31 am

We should be starting any moment. Many of the officials are now finding their seats around the podium.

Jen Steer July 15, 201510:34 am

Beth Mooney, co-chair of the 2016 Cleveland Host Committee, is speaking now. She says the roles of the committee are to ensure there is money to host the RNC, organize volunteers and partner with the city to showcase Cleveland.

Jen Steer July 15, 201510:35 am

“We’re making real progress on the fundraising front,” Mooney says. They are now seeking national funding. She also gives credit to Jobs Ohio.

Jen Steer July 15, 201510:38 am

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson says the 2016 Special Events Committee is designed to make things happen in a smooth manner, including getting proper permits and working with private entities.

Jen Steer July 15, 201510:39 am

Jackson explains there is another committee to make sure all the projects around Cleveland, like airport and RTA, are completed by the RNC.

Jen Steer July 15, 201510:40 am

Jackson says he wants to present Cleveland in the best way we can. He’s now addressing security and grants that are helping to pay for the increase in security.

Jen Steer July 15, 201510:40 am

Jackson will be going to Washington, DC to talk about the $50 million in security grants.

Jen Steer July 15, 201510:41 am

County Executive Armond Budish: “One year is an important milestone to mark.” He calls the RNC one of the greatest opportunities to showcase the city.

Jen Steer July 15, 201510:42 am

Budish: “We will be ready… We’re surrounded by new and renovated hotel rooms.”

Jen Steer July 15, 201510:44 am

Budish says despite some challenges, the Hilton Cleveland Downtown is on schedule for completion. He adds the Public Square construction is also on schedule.

Jen Steer July 15, 201510:47 am

President of the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee David Gilbert says they have put together 10 different areas they have been trying to advance, like fundraising, welcome events, city beautification.

Jen Steer July 15, 201510:49 am

Gilbert says they’ve secured nearly 12,000 hotel rooms and that total grows daily. There are 47 different venues in contract for the RNC, so far.

Jen Steer July 15, 201510:51 am

Gilbert says up to 8,000 volunteers will be used during the convention. Already 1,700 volunteers are already signed up.

Jen Steer July 15, 201510:53 am

Gilbert says people shouldn’t leave town for the convention, they should come downtown to become part of history being made in our city. He compares it to the number of people who came downtown during the NBA Finals, even though they didn’t have a ticket.

Jen Steer July 15, 201510:56 am

Steve King, chair of the Republican National Committee Standing Committee on Arrangements, says the reason they chose Cleveland is because of the people, the hospitality.

Jen Steer July 15, 201510:58 am

“Hosting a convention is a historic event,” King says. He says they hope have a better result than the last RNC in Cleveland in 1936, where the nominee was Alfred Landon.

Jen Steer July 15, 201510:59 am

Gilbert says Cleveland is expected to raise $64 million and they are up to $39 million. The hotel room goal is about 16,000 hotel rooms and they are up to 12,000.

Jen Steer July 15, 201511:00 am

“The benefit for this community is not just the dollars spent during the week of the convention, but how this positions Cleveland for the future,” Gilbert says.

Jen Steer July 15, 201511:02 am

Jackson doesn’t get into specifics on the security perimeter around Quicken Loans Arena, but the Secret Service will be in charge. He says the larger the perimeter, the greater the impact on downtown.

Jen Steer July 15, 201511:03 am

“It’s always a challenge when you have 50,000 people,” Jackson says.

Jen Steer July 15, 201511:04 am

“You have potentially the leader of the free world,” Jackson says. He says it’s a global event, which creates a need for increased security. Jackson says the Secret Service has been in and out of Cleveland several times. They were mostly recently here 10 days ago.

Jen Steer July 15, 201511:06 am

King says they were told by AT&T that this will be a bigger IT and media event than the Olympics.

Jen Steer July 15, 201511:08 am

The Indians will be out of town the week before and the week during the RNC, according to King, so they can use Progressive Field.

Jen Steer July 15, 201511:09 am

“If you can promise me the Cavs will win the NBA Championship in four straight games, we’ll be good,” King says to laughs.