Neighborhood security up for President's visit in South Richmond

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - With President Obama's visit today comes a lot of extra security for the Stratford Hills neighborhood. Not only that, but a big media crowd lining the narrow streets there.

There are plenty of signs up in the neighborhood, telling people throughout the neighborhood that you can't park in certain areas. It's just one visual sign of many people in the neighborhood have been dealing with for several days.

There are GRTC buses have been surrounding the Southampton Recreation Association building. Quite a different view for Debbie Reichhold the past couple of days, as she takes her dogs on their normal walk.

"It's been crazy! It's kind of crowded and the traffic, it's been a real inconvenience," says Debbie Reichhold.

Debbie tried to get her errands done early so she wouldn't have to dodge all the traffic with the president's visit. "I tried to make it a point to find out when the president is going to be here and just stay home and not go out so I don't have to face the traffic."

The US Secret Service worked with Richmond Police to coordinate this big event. That meant road closures and disruptions this afternoon, but the Secret Service says it's tried not to restrict access to people who live in this area.

"I have to go to work this afternoon. I better not be locked up in a jail cell," says Angelique Wilhelm laughing.

Aside from the buses, neighbors have seen a lot of activity throughout the day and earlier in the week. That ranged from undercover police officers, to people walking the neighborhood slowly, to even helicopters circling around.

Also, there are these big national and local media trucks and satellites lining the streets. "It's unique. It's different and if you've never been around when the president showed up, it's something to see," says Debbie.

"I think it's neat and I think we are going to watch a lot of TV tonight looking for ourselves and our neighborhood," says Debbie.

A neighborhood taking the national spotlight, with a whole lot of security, for Barack Obama's first visit to Richmond as President.

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