Cleveland Prepares for the Republican Convention

Emily Lauer, Senior Director of Public Relations, Destination Cleveland, and Evelyn Smits
Emily Lauer, Senior Director of Public Relations, Destination Cleveland, and Evelyn Smits

Emily Lauer of Destination Cleveland with Evelyn

The week of July 18, Cleveland, Ohio, will host the Republican National Convention. City officials are working hard to get ready for the convention, when Republican delegates will officially choose their nominee for president. As of now, businessman Donald Trump is favored to win the party's nomination. But state caucuses are primaries are still underway.

The Republican nominee will compete in the general election on November 8 against the top Democratic candidate. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders are now vying for their party's nomination.

Emily Lauer, the Senior Director of Public Relations for Destination Cleveland, is on the convention planning committee. She said that “Cleveland was chosen in part for its facilities, including the new convention center and Quicken Loans Arena, which is home to the Cleveland Cavaliers.”

The city had other appeals, too. “The Republican Party also met a lot of people on the street," Lauer said. "They got genuine answers, and people were so proud of Cleveland.” She added, “Reince Priebus [the chairman of the Republican National Committee], told us that he sees Cleveland as a world-class city.”

The purpose of the planning committee, Lauer said, is to "raise money and make Cleveland look great." The committee is seeking to raise $64 million for convention activities and to beautify the city.

More than 50,000 visitors are expected during the convention, including 15,000 members of the media. The committee has already reserved more than 16,200 hotel rooms throughout northeastern Ohio. A fleet of 350 buses will transport convention attendees around the city, and 8,000 volunteers will offer assistance.



“The convention will benefit Cleveland by putting us on the national scene, which should hopefully bring us more convention business," said Teresa Gilbert. "The people of Cleveland will feel pride in their hometown as many visitors stream through the city.” Gilbert lives in Orange, a suburb of Cleveland.

During the convention, delegates will attend meetings, policy discussions, luncheons, and receptions. Members of the committee estimate that $200 million will be spent in the city during the week. It is hoped that visitors will see Cleveland as a desirable place to host business meetings or go on vacation. 

Quicken Loans Arena, the site of the Republican National Convention (c) Courtesy of Destination Cleveland

Quicken Loans Arena, the site of the upcoming Republican National Convention

Many Cleveland residents are excited about the convention. “A national convention brings our city fantastic attention," said Carol Thomas Ryan of Olmsted Township, Ohio. "Our city government is working hard to make improvements, such as to our highways, to handle the huge number of visitors.”  Ryan added, “Regardless of one’s politics, hosting a national convention is great for our city. The convention will bring tremendous business to restaurants, hotels, and other businesses."

Kate LaMarca of Avon, Ohio, agrees. “It's our chance in the national spotlight to show off a city that we love—its art, culture, food, and diversity," she said. "The convention will be a much-needed and well-deserved economic boost.” 

With the Republican convention coming to town, maybe Cleveland Cavaliers star Lebron James will be sharing his home court with the future president.

Top photo: Courtesy of the author. Bottom photo: Courtesy of Destination Cleveland.