• Thousands expected for CIAA tournament; police address security concerns

    By: Catherine Bilkey


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Over the next week, as many as 200,000 people are expected to crowd local businesses for the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournament, bringing a huge economic boost and some security concerns.

    Charlotte resident Terrance Robb couldn't be more excited. He knows Uptown businesses will be packed with basketball fans.

    "Very excited—this is my fist CIAA," Robb said.

    His excitement is shared by workers at restaurants all over the city.

    "It's a great weekend to work," bartender Megan Protasiewicz said.

    Last year, 200,000 fans flooded the city, bringing a huge economic boost with them.

    "We all want to make money," Protasiewicz said. "And when everyone is coming in to watch the games, it helps everybody out."

    Protasiewicz said Charlotte is the place to be during the games.

    "You want to be down here; you don't want to miss it," Protasiewicz said.

    Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said they want to make sure visitors have a good time. They already have security plans in place, and they're coordinating with businesses to make sure events don't get too rowdy.

    "One of the things we pride ourselves on is making sure that we're in close and constant contact with people hosting and promoting the large events," Capt. Jeff Estes with CMPD said.

    Restaurants are also talking about security. Eyewitness News spoke with the manager of Rock Bottom. He said he's already booked security staff to keep customers safe.

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