Hillary Clinton speaks about her plan to fight for the interests of women and families at the “Women for Hillary” grassroots organizing meeting at the Athenaeum in Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. Yi-Ke Peng/WOUB

Security Checks, Road Closures Part of Candidate Visit

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As Athens awaits the arrival of a presidential candidate, planning has included increased security and plans for road closures around the venue.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a Tuesday visit to Jackie O’s Taproom and production facility late Sunday night, and since then, the city has been planning for the visit.

The visit was tabbed as the culmination of a two-day tour of the region, called the “Breaking Down Barriers.” The tour was scheduled to bring her to stops in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky, according to a press release sent out by her campaign.

She was originally scheduled to speak about jobs and the economy at the local brewery at 1:45 p.m., but a release from the campaign sent out Monday night rescheduled the engagement for 2:30 p.m. Doors are set to open at 1 p.m.

Before that, Clinton is scheduled to visit the University of Charleston to speak about substance abuse and addiction.

The city of Athens will see “intermittent” closures of streets around Jackie O’s, including Grant Street and Campbell Street, but Stimson Avenue is set to remain open during the event, according to City of Athens Deputy Service Safety Director Ron Lucas.

The Athens Police Department and the Ohio University Police Department are working with the United States Secret Service and the FBI to secure the event.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol plans to have regular staffing on US 33, according to Athens Post commander Lt. George Harlow.

No extra patrols have been asked for, Harlow said, but “when you consider the traffic patterns, it would stand to reason that we would have patrols around (the Stimson Avenue interchange).”

It’s not clear how much of the public will be allowed into the event, but businesses outside the Taproom are anticipating big crowds.

An employee at Sonic Drive-In adjacent to the venue, who declined to give his name, said agents from the Secret Service and the FBI said they would be controlling traffic around the area to avoid traffic jams in other business’ parking lots.

“It’s a big event, it’s not everyday this happens in your backyard,” the employee said.

Democrats around Athens are enthusiastic about the event and excited to see the potential presidential candidate.

“It’s noteworthy that she’s completing a tour through Appalachia before coming here,” said John Haseley, chairman of the Athens County Democratic Party. “It means she’s paying attention to the needs here.”