Dallas taxpayers pay $2 million for NBA All-Star security

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by Dallas Morning News / Wire Reports

wfaa.com

Posted on February 11, 2010 at 1:54 PM

DALLAS — The NBA All-Star weekend officially kicks off on Thursday, but the parties were already under way Wednesday night.

Downtown Dallas motorists can expect traffic delays, street closures and a lot of police.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected in the downtown area for a series of events leading up to Sunday Night's All-Star game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

There were crowds at the Skye bar, where hip-hop artist Busta Ryhmes and Mavericks player Jason Terry were hosting a party. People coming to downtown Dallas need to be ready for parking and traffic problems.

"We feel we have a good plan in place, but be patient with us," said Dallas police spokesman Lt. Andrew Harvey. "If we have to shut down a street, our goal is to shut it down temporarily and open it as soon as possible to get people where they want to go."

Parking is expected to be an issue. Businesses and apartment owners downtown will prevent people from trying to park without proper permits. Some residents are being asked to have their licenses and leases ready to show security.

"They said keep a copy of your lease when you leave and come back, because we don't know what to expect," said downtown resident Danielle Davidson. "No one knows how crowded it's going to be."

Police said All-Star activities will attract some of the largest crowds in Dallas history. Only the Republican National Convention in 1984 and the World Cup in 1994 have seen crowds this large.

But the men and women in blue say they are ready.

"Really, what you can expect is to see a lot of officers — especially in the highly populated areas," Harvey said.

Dallas taxpayers will end up paying nearly $2 million for extra officers to keep the traffic moving and the streets safe, but the city says that's a small price to pay considering the national exposure and people this game will bring to the city.

Code inspectors were also out Wednesday night. They made the owners of one downtown club take down some of the signs they had hanging.

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