HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — President Donald Trump will be in West Virginia for a second week in a row Thursday when he’s scheduled to lead a rally at Huntington’s Big Sandy Superstore Arena.
“Parking will be limited. There will be security screenings so we advise that people give themselves plenty of time” Chambers said.
The last sitting U.S. president to visit Huntington was President George W. Bush in 2004.
“Anytime that the President of the United States comes to Huntington, we welcome him or her and our focus upon learning of the President’s visit has been on making sure that everything will run smoothly and efficiently,” he told MetroNews.
Big Sandy Superstore Arena has seating for 9,000 people. No estimates for attendance were available as of Wednesday morning.
Tickets were being issued through President Trump’s website.
Instead of attending the rally, Amie Maynard with West Virginia Women’s March was planning to be outside of the arena on 3rd Avenue for a protest from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with representatives from a coalition of more than a dozen other citizen groups.
In addition to West Virginia Women’s March those scheduled to be represented included Huntington Huddle, For Ohio’s Future, March for Science Huntington, Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, Rise Up WV, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) District 1199, Summers County Huddle, Tri State Indivisible, West Virginia Citizen Action Group, West Virginia Indivisible, West Virginia Progressive Alliance and Wood County Indivisible.
“There’s many of us in West Virginia that did not vote for Donald Trump,” Maynard said. “West Virginia is known around the country as an area where Trump’s support is the strongest and we think it’s vital that the rest of our voices are heard as well.”
The latest Gallup survey put President Trump’s approval rating at 60 percent in West Virginia — the highest in the United States.
Maynard has a differing view. Thus far, she characterized Trump’s job performance in the White House as “terrible.”
“We just plan to have a peaceful demonstration and just make our voices heard and we welcome anyone that wants to join us,” she said.
Earlier this week, there were reports of online threats directed at potential protesters. Huntington officials said those threats “have been addressed.”
While protests will be permitted anywhere the general public is allowed, the designated space for large protests was on 3rd Avenue between 9th Street and 10th Street which will close to traffic at 12 p.m. Thursday.
Other roads in the immediate vicinity of Big Sandy Superstore Arena will be shut down at 12 p.m. as well and there will be additional intermittent road closures beyond that area for the arrival and departure of the Presidential Motorcade.
Parking may be an issue.
“Due to road closures and other decisions that have been made for security reasons there will be extremely limited parking in the Downtown,” Chambers said.
Here are additional parking notes from the City of Huntington:
– The municipal parking garage at the southwest corner of 8th Street and 3rd Avenue will have limited available spaces. The city is urging residents to park at other locations.
– The Pullman Square west parking garage will only be accessible from 9th Street via Veterans Memorial Boulevard until 4 p.m. Vehicles will not be able to enter or exit this parking garage from 4 p.m. until after the event.
– The Pullman Square east parking garage will be open to the public all day Thursday. It will accessible from 10th Street.
– Harris Riverfront Park will not be available for event parking.
Doors for Thursday’s rally at Big Sandy Superstore Arena were scheduled to open at 4 p.m.
President Trump was last in West Virginia on July 24 when he spoke to 40,000 National Boy Scout Jamboree attendees at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in Fayette County.
The Boy Scouts of America later apologized for the tone of the speech.