Michelle Obama’s Tuesday visit could cause minor traffic delays | ParkRecord.com

Michelle Obama’s Tuesday visit could cause minor traffic delays

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

Commuters heading into Park City from Interstate 80 or S.R. 224 on Tuesday might consider leaving a few minutes early and not necessarily on account of the road construction.

First lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to visit Park City for a fund-raiser to raise money for President Obama’s re-election campaign, and her motorcade will likely be in the Park City area during the morning rush hour.

The breakfast fund-raiser is slated at 9 a.m. at the Snyderville Basin vacation home of Mark and Nancy Gilbert. Mark Gilbert raises money for the Democratic National Committee and was involved in Obama’s 2008 campaign. She is also scheduled to travel to Aspen, Colo., on Tuesday.

Sheriff Dave Edmunds, who has been involved in the security planning for the first lady’s visit, said he anticipates the authorities will briefly block roads for the first lady’s motorcade. He said those could occur along the S.R. 224 corridor starting at Interstate 80 and continuing into the Basin. He does not expect the roadblocks will have much effect on commuter traffic.

"All in all, the impact will be fairly minimal," Edmunds said.

He said the scene will not resemble what unfolded when President Bush made a stop in Park City for a fund-raiser in May 2008. The presidential motorcade during Bush’s trip moved with a fleet of emergency vehicles, causing traffic backups as it traveled from the Park City School District campus to the upper reaches of Deer Valley.

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Edmunds, meanwhile, said the Sheriff’s Office will assign deputies as backups to the Secret Service. The sheriff himself plans to be on the scene while Obama is in the Park City area.

The Secret Service had not requested a large contingent of Sheriff’s Office deputies be assigned to the first lady’s visit by Thursday, Edmunds said, acknowledging the request could be made closer to the Tuesday visit. Edmunds declined to discuss the requests made by the Secret Service thus far.

"Whatever they ask for, we’ll provide to them," Edmunds said.

The Park City Police Department will assist on Tuesday, with Police Chief Wade Carpenter saying at least seven officers from Park City will be assigned to the security efforts. He said the police officers from Park City will be blocking intersections and protecting the motorcade. The police chief will be among the Park City officers involved in the security.

The Park City Medical Center, the only hospital in Park City, is preparing to respond if an emergency situation arises. Amy Roberts, the spokesperson for the hospital, said she met with two Secret Service agents on Tuesday to review the medical center’s capabilities.

Roberts said the hospital could stabilize someone before sending them to another hospital if the situation is serious enough. She said the hospital has set aside a room that is more easily protected than others at the facility. The Secret Service had previously identified the room while planning for a Park City trip by someone else under the agency’s protection, she said.

Prices to attend the fund-raiser range from $1,000 to $35,800, according to a price list attached to the invitation. The higher admission price entitles people to attend a special reception with Obama as well as attend a photo reception with her.

The first lady will be the biggest name so far to visit Park City on a fund-raising trip during the 2012 presidential election cycle. Political observers have said other campaigns could schedule events in Park City as well, drawn by the community’s wealth. A parade of top-shelf politicians visited Park City to raise money during the 2008 White House campaign, including Barack Obama, Rudy Giuliani and Bush.