The message was about what you'd expect: It's going to be great, we're working hard to make sure it's a fantastic event, we're excited about all the ancillary projects around the convention, we hope to make meaningful change to the city. If we remember it one day as "a really cool week in Cleveland" and nothing more, "we've failed at our job," he said, according to the News-Herald, which has a pretty full account of his thoughts from the talk.
Gilbert did make a point of emphasizing that while hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent in Northeast Ohio when the Big Show comes to town, a lot of people dropping by the shores of Lake Erie for the circus will be here for a free lunch.
"We have to set expectations so that people know that afterward if their pocket wasn’t filled, they aren’t retiring because of the RNC, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t successful.”
Gilbert expects between $200 million and $250 million in direct spending in the region during the convention, but they don’t know where that money will be spent.
“A lot of these people who are coming here are looking for every free meal they can,” he said. “So it’s not that every restaurant is going to do tremendously well.”
The Cleveland food industry will have to put off retirement. No word yet on how the convention will affect the Cleveland t-shirt industry. We'll keep you updated.