RNC committee arrives in Cleveland in search for host city

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- It's Cleveland’s time to shine.

Members of the Republican National Committee are in town as they try to decide if Cleveland is the best place to hold the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Cleveland is the first of four cities the site selection committee is visiting this month.

"It's a wonderful city...I think Cleveland is an unknown gem," said Enid Mickelsen, chairwoman for the RNC site selection committee.

Members of the Republican National Committee's site selection team arrived at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport for an official visit Monday. They were greeted with limousines and escorted to their hotels by Cleveland police officers on motorcycles.

They will use this visit to decide whether they will hold the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland or in one of the other three cities which include Kansas City, Denver and Dallas.

"I have never been to Cleveland in my life, and I am so excited to have an opportunity to see your city," said RNC member John Ryder.

"Beautiful city, where our delegates will come and do their business and have a good time as well," said RNC Co-chair Sharon Day.

A smaller delegation came to Cleveland in late April for a technical visit to see whether Cleveland was physically capable of holding such a large convention. They looked at venues, such as the Q, the number of hotels, transportation and work space.

"Cleveland has passed that test with flying colors," said Mickelsen.

Now, the full committee will look at whether Cleveland is the right place to hold the GOP convention. They plan to tour the Q, Progressive Field and the Rock Hall and visit neighborhoods like University Circle.

"What would the delegate experience be, how will this be portrayed on television as we try to get our message out to the country," Mickelsen said.

"I know we'll put on a good presentation for them," said Northeast Ohio resident Delmarr Calhoun.

"People think enough about Cleveland -- it's actually a fun place to be," said Leslie Nutt.

"Got a lot of nice restaurants downtown, a lot of the hotels that are being built...the casino," said Douglas Archuletta.

RNC leaders say they'll also consider how welcome they feel.

"A lot of people throughout the country don't realize how much has changed here over the last decade or so, and I think our committee will be very pleasantly impressed," said Mickelsen.

The committee is expected to make a final decision on where to hold the convention in late summer or early fall.

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