Massive concrete security barricades have been strategically placed to keep protestors back during the RNC.
ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- The RNC is still a week away, but St. Petersburg is already prepared for the big welcome party at Tropicana Field Sunday night.
Massive concrete security barricades have been strategically placed to keep protestors back, but many business owners are frustrated. Rick Parsons, who owns Ricky P's Bistro, understands the need for security, but said the barricades create a bad perception.
"I understand [security] is necessary, but it's already hard enough to make it through the lean summer months and this just makes it even harder," said Parsons.
Ferg's sports bar is a favorite watering hole near the Trop and is surrounded by barricades. Owner Mark Ferguson agrees they are an ugly inconvenience, but wants customers to know it's business as usual.
"The city is doing a great job. People might think they can't get in here because of the barricades, but they can."
Mayor Bill Foster sympathizes with downtown businesses, but says the Secret Service is calling the shots. He said he is doing what is required, and hopes business owners understand what has to be done to pull off a successful and safe event.
"The Secret Service is orchestrating all of this, but it is what it takes to pull off a spectacular event," the mayor said.
More on the 2012 Republican National Convention...
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Grand Ol' Party: Strip clubs expect busy week for RNC
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Party Time: Delegates booked into "party" resort
Protests Expected: 5,000 RNC protestors expected to march
Bridge Security: Tall sailboat? Expect to wait during RNC
Not Done: Still some eyesores in downtown Tampa for RNC
Convention Schedule: Day 1