How close can I get to the Xcel Energy Center?by Laura Yuen, Minnesota Public Radio
I'm not an RNC delegate. Can I get close to the convention site?
St. Paul, Minn. — If you have a favorite coffee shop or park bench in downtown St. Paul, chances are you'll still be able to get there, at least by foot.
St. Paul police have created a tentative "no-walk" security zone surrounding the Xcel Energy Center during the Republican National Convention.
The good news is that it seems to get close to the "skin" of the RiverCentre complex, which is how police have described the perimeter in the past.
Workers will begin setting up a fence around the no-walk zone after rush hour Friday. Only people who have convention-related business will be allowed inside. They'll have to pass through a magnetometer and show their credentials or tickets to police officers to gain entry.
Besides the RiverCentre, the following areas will also be off-limits: The Smith Ave. Transit Center and adjacent FOX media tents across Smith Ave., as well as the Travelers property north of RiverCentre.
A block of nearby streets will also be fenced off, including Fifth and Seventh streets, and most likely a stretch of Kellogg Blvd.
Walsh said police will find a way for people who have business at the Science Museum to have access to Kellogg so they can walk up to the building. The museum will be closed to the public during the RNC, except for private events.
But for the most part, the security zone doesn't include businesses or attractions that the general public would have any reason to visit, Walsh said.
It leaves plenty of downtown for walking around, including Mickey's Diner, the Dorothy Day Center, Landmark Center, St. Joseph's Hospital, and Rice Park.
The plan could change, however, if police decide to widen the security footprint before the convention.
- All Things Considered, 08/25/2008, 4:55 p.m.