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What was it like to see the convention up close?

By Joe Roman
President and CEO, Greater Cleveland Partnership
Vice President, Cleveland 2016 Host Committee


Opening Night:
North Coast Harbor has NEVER looked so good, nor the lakefront more promising -- over 12,000 guests, donors, delegates and media attended in perfect weather.   

Personally, I remember when, over 20 years ago, Cleveland Tomorrow, our predecessor, and North Coast Harbor, where Dave Gilbert worked at the time, were working just to make sure people knew we had a harbor and park again. 

It was tough even to program occasional events down there that could attract anyone. 

Then came the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the Great Lakes Science Center, a new stadium for the Cleveland Browns, and—just before the RNC—a new restaurant. With more to come.  

I just wished that Senator Voinovich, the namesake of the park, could have seen it in all its full glory.

The most amazing constant crowd pleaser during the RNC was when a group of police or safety personnel would walk or ride by (on bike or horseback) and people on the streets, or in the restaurants would break out in applause honoring the men and women who were as diverse geographically as the delegates themselves.

I was on the floor of the convention itself many times during the four days and nights, and being that close was pretty incredible.  Celebrities everywhere and media at every corner and aisle pathway.  

The stage was enormous as was the video screen, and I keep wondering where we could put that screen now somewhere in Cleveland to take full advantage of it.