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Planning to go to President Trump's rally in Lebanon today? Heed warnings from sheriff's office

Expect heavy traffic
Posted at 2:48 PM, Oct 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-12 01:11:02-04

LEBANON, Ohio -  Planning to attend President Trump’s rally at the Warren County Fairgrounds Friday? The Warren County Sheriff's Office says to expect traffic delays, limited parking and seating and multiple security checkpoints.

The sheriff’s office released these warnings Wednesday in advance of the 7 p.m. rally for U.S. senate candidate Jim Renacci. (Note: You must register online for tickets.)

  • The Fairgrounds will not be open to the public before 2 p.m. on Friday. If you arrive early, you will be asked to leave while the area is secured beginning at 11:30 a.m. Vehicles will not be permitted to stage, park or line up on Broadway until the gates are open.
  • Once the Fairgrounds are open, all persons will be required to enter through the track and go through series of security checkpoints. Carpooling is strongly encouraged as parking will be limited.
  • Vehicles traveling north on Broadway will enter at Gate 2. Vehicles traveling south will enter at Gate 1. Pedestrians who park elsewhere will be directed to the track and the security checkpoints. Limited handicap parking is available.
  • Overflow parking will be at Colonial Park West, directly across from the Fairgrounds. There will be no parking attendants at Colonial Park West. The park will remain closed until needed.
  • Persons driving through the City of Lebanon in the afternoon/evening can expect significant traffic delays and sporadic road closures. While exact details of the president’s route will not be released, motorists can also expect significant delays and closures on the northern loop of Interstate 275, I-71 from I-275, I-71 to St. Rt. 48 and on St. Rt. 48 from I-71 in the late afternoon during rush hour. Please be patient and give yourself extra time, make alternate travel plans, or avoid the area.
  • There is very limited seating available, and bleacher seating will be on a first-come basis.  

Additionally, Cincinnati police warned that there would be temporary road closures lasting as long as 30 minutes for the president's motorcade. Travelers should expect road closures on the east side of Cincinnati, including Interstate 71 north and south and parts of Interstate 275, police said. 

Preparations underway

Business was brisk Thursday at a souvenir stand that sprang up across the street from the fairgrounds. President Trump T-shirts were the most popular item.

Ron Bolling of Lebanon bought a shirt for his grandson, who he's taking to the rally.

"We stand for what he believes, and I'm teaching that to him as a young man, so it's something I'll always instill in him and I hope he keeps doing it," Bolling said. 

People were being kept out of the fairgrounds as crews prepared for the rally.

Warren County Republican Chair Jeff Monroe said he's been swamped with calls from people who want to hear Trump speak.

"I think he's going to say exactly what he always says, and that is: we need to get Republicans elected, and that's what we're doing in this rally," Monroe said. 

In the meantime, Warren County Democrats are working hard to promote their own candidates, including Sen. Sherrod Brown, who is looking to defend his Senate seat against Renacci. 

"Our voters are very motivated," Warren County Democratic Party Chair Bethe Goldenfield said. "We've had more volunteers come into this office than I've seen since 2008."

Goldenfield said Democrats are planning a rally of their own, called "we deserve better."

"It's really to talk about the Democratic policies that actually help people in the country, versus hurting 98 percent of the people — health care, education and jobs — job training and access to good jobs," she said. 

Game rescheduled

Lebanon High School's football game with Miamisburg was moved from Friday night to Thursday night because the field is only a quarter-mile from the fairgrounds. 

Superintendent Todd Yohey said it was an easy decision to reschedule.

"For fans that maybe want to attend, we just felt it was better for everybody to move the football game," he said.

Also, the same security people that work the football game will likely be working traffic details or security at the fairgrounds.

"We were just concerned that people wouldn't be able to make it to the game, we would have trouble moving our athletes into that venue with school buses, and so on," Yohey said.