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Palm Beach locals: More security, traffic when Donald Trump visits

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Local officials and residents in Palm Beach say they’re seeing changes around town when President-elect Donald Trump is at his Mar-a-Lago estate.

Palm Beach Town Manager Tom Bradford says he’s been inundated since before the election with inquiries from residents and reporters about Trump, who is a part-time resident in the town of 8,612 people.

“I could spend my entire day answering people’s questions about the president and the impact and I wouldn’t be able to get any work done,” Bradford told The Palm Beach Post  .

The Post reports that Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office vehicles are now regularly stationed along the road leading to Mar-a-Lago and outside its closed gates. A sheriff’s office watch tower also overlooks the estate.

Bicyclists, pedestrians and a heavy flow of seasonal traffic can still make their way past the area, and a nearby beach and parking area remain open to the public.

On the Intracoastal Waterway, however, Coast Guard vessels shadow boats near a newly designated restricted zone and through a causeway drawbridge. Alan Emery, an attendant at Palm Beach Docks, said the Coast Guard quickly makes contact with any yachts that appear to veer toward Mar-a-Lago.

Palm Beach County Mayor Paulette Burdick has asked the county’s Congressional delegation for help in getting reimbursed for providing security for Trump’s holiday visits.

“As an example of the escalated expenditures, over the four-day Thanksgiving holiday the County incurred a cost of $250,000 as a result of security protection of the President-elect,” Burdick wrote in a Dec. 20 letter. “It is our expectation the President-elect will frequent his home in Palm Beach for a substantial amount of time during the Christmas and New Year holiday season, and it is anticipated that significant future travel will continue to the area by the President, Cabinet officials, and executive office staff, as well as other dignitaries from around the world that require heightened security detail.”

Some residents complain that road closures near Palm Beach International Airport, where Trump’s jet lands and departs, can tie up traffic for a half-hour or more.

“I know he’s going to be hanging out a lot,” said Lynn Lopez, who lives in neighboring Cloud Lake. “We have to cope with it, I guess.”

In Glen Ridge, another community bordering the airport, Pedro Rodriguez said he doesn’t mind the traffic delays.

“That’s my neighbor. I’m happy,” he said. “It’s OK. It’s the president.”

People traveling through the airport likely won’t experience any disruptions, Transportation Security Administration regional spokesman Mark Howell. Airports Director Bruce Pelly said he has begun talking with the Secret Service about keeping air traffic away from Mar-a-Lago when Trump is in town.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

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