Final preparations underway for President Trump visit in Chattanooga

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Final preparations are underway for the presidential visit in Chattanooga this weekend.

Inside UTC’s McKenzie Arena, crews were getting ready for President Donald Trump’s rally on Sunday.

“We are building stages, we are putting trusses up, hanging flags, etcetera,” said Obie Webster, the executive director of the arena.

Webster says it was hectic week planning for the event.

“It is constant meeting constant changes other than that it is somewhat like a concert, but there are just a lot more people involved, a lot more areas that you have to pay attention to,” Webster said.

Streets near the arena will be shut down.

Some parking lots are already closed and they will be until the end of the rally. On Sunday Lot 20, 32, 35 and the West Campus Garage 50 will be closed. Vehicles in these parking areas during the closure time will be towed to Engel Stadium.

Robie Robinson, UTC’s Executive Director for Emergency Services, says people attending the event might find parking a challenge.

“I would recommend that they get here early and that they find a parking space. There may be room in the lots around campus, otherwise it is going to be on the streets and wherever they can find to park,” Robinson said.

Robinson says people will have to have a ticket and be prepared to go through metal detectors.

“I can’t tell you the exact perimeters of what they are going to be looking for, but think about getting on an airplane. Think about you want to make sure you are not bringing something in that would not be allowed,” Robinson said.

Many different agencies will make sure people are safe.

“An event like this involves federal, state, county, local resources. There are a lot of people that have provided expertise and feedback, even if they are not going to be here,” Robinson said.

At the arena there are 10,500 seats. But they have a plan if more people attend.

“They will have an overflow area on the top deck of what we call west campus housing. That is where the overflow area will be and they will be able to stand there and that is all, there won’t be anything else available there,” Webster said.

Doors at McKenzie Arena will open to the general public at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

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