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RNC Roundup: Downtown Traffic, Doughnuts on Sticks

Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor addressed the media during a daily briefing on Thursday morning at the Tampa Convention Center.

Don't take the bait, and be prepared.

Those were a few lessons Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Police Chief Jane Castor learned during a relatively quiet week. There have been just three arrests and no property crimes reported since Monday at the Republican National Convention downtown.

During a media briefing at the Tampa Convention Center on Thursday, the final day of the RNC, Buckhorn and Castor talked traffic updates, security measures and what they hope delegates and visitors to the city take away.

Here's a roundup:

  • Response from delegates about the convention: "I couldn't be more thankful of how this turned out," said Buckhorn, later adding that Tampa's handling of the RNC should serve as a "benchmark" for other cities.
  • Traffic and convention activity downtown: With the convention's event center (the area around the Tampa Bay Times Forum and the convention center) being dismantled after events conclude tonight, downtown is expected to start resuming normalcy in the next few days.
  • On the lack of protesters, who dangled doughnuts on sticks at law enforcement last night: "They (officers) said, 'Mayor, that's no doughnut," joked Buckhorn. "It's a bagel painted to look like a doughnut ... they didn't take the bait."
  • On the heavy officer presence downtown: "Officers are going home today if they work the day shift," said Castor.
  • On economic impact of the convention to the city of Tampa: "It will take time to quantify it all," said Buckhorn. He reiterated his earlier estimate of $150 million into Tampa's economy, saying the host committee's funds, delegate spending and security measures could generate about $50 million each. Buckhorn also stressed the "residual effects" of the convention, which includes the mere mention of the city of Tampa this week.
  • Any other incidents?: A woman in Ybor City had a seizure last night during a march in Ybor City, but was assisted by law enforcement.

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