BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — City Manager Rebecca Fleury said she and others at City Hall found out about President Trump’s campaign visit the day his staff announced it on Thursday December 5.
Since then, many people have been calling City Hall offices with questions about the event, she said.
“This is an exciting opportunity for Battle Creek,” Fleury said during an interview with FOX 17. “It comes with logistical challenges. But we know there’s going to be people coming from all over the place to be a part of this rally.”
Fleury said Trump’s campaign staff told them they were expecting 10,000 people to attend. Kellogg Arena holds 6,000. So, City Hall is anticipating a large overflow and they hope Festival Market Square will be the appropriate place for it.
“The other thing is that we’re hearing a lot about is protesters,” she added. “Everybody is submitting special event permits coming into the City of Battle Creek. We’re considering those on an equal basis. As fast as we can turn them out we will.”
Since it’s a campaign visit and not an official presidential visit, more of the planning falls on City Hall, Fleury said. So they’re covering all aspects from transportation to safety.
“We have to ensure the safety of everybody that comes here: the president’s campaign team, people that come to the rally, and then our own neighbors here in Battle Creek,” Fleury said. “But we also know that we have people with disabilities. How do we get them to and from the Kellogg Arena? And we want to make sure that we consider all things when we establish parking.”
She said officials have discussed using shuttles to get people around. And parking locations should be established by the end of the week.
“What we do know is the parking ramp immediately adjacent to the arena will be closed and not open for parking purposes,” Fleury said. “Other than that, other designated parking areas have not been confirmed.”
According to the campaign website the event begins at 7 p.m. All tickets for the event have to be obtained on their website, and not through City Hall.
“It’s exciting to have Battle Creek lifted up at the national level because we think that we’re such a great community. We’d love everybody to think that. So the exposure is great,” Fleury said. “What it made us think that there’s a lot of work in logistics to be determined and it’s going to take an all-hands-on-deck effort.”