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CIAA basketball tournament declared an ‘extraordinary event’

Johnson C. Smith University Booster 100 members Hattie Dewalt and her husband Tom Dewalt both of Charlotte, cheer on the JCSU “Golden Bulls” women’s basketball team while JCSU plays against Livingstone College “Lady Blue Bears” in the 2015 CIAA tournament women’s quarterfinals
Johnson C. Smith University Booster 100 members Hattie Dewalt and her husband Tom Dewalt both of Charlotte, cheer on the JCSU “Golden Bulls” women’s basketball team while JCSU plays against Livingstone College “Lady Blue Bears” in the 2015 CIAA tournament women’s quarterfinals rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

City Manager Ron Carlee has declared this week’s CIAA basketball tournament an extraordinary event, giving police expanded authority to search people.

The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournament began Tuesday and continues through Saturday at Time Warner Cable Arena. Other official CIAA events are scheduled at the Charlotte Convention Center.

An extraordinary event is defined as a large-scale event or an event of national or international significance attracting a significant number of people to a certain part of the city.

In previous years, up to 100,000 people have gathered uptown for the tournament and related parties and other get-togethers.

Although there is no known intelligence regarding threats for uptown, “there is a general security threat due to recent world events,” police Chief Kerr Putney said in a memorandum to Carlee supporting the extraordinary event declaration.

“Considering there will be large open crowds with public access, there is potential that harm could take place if a so motivated individual or group had the desire to do so,” Putney wrote.

Expanded Blue Line service Friday and Saturday

The Charlotte Area Transit System, meanwhile, has announced additional Lynx Blue Line service Friday and Saturday. A train will run every 10 minutes 3:30-11:30 p.m. Friday and 10:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Charlotte Department of Transportation plans no street closures, except occasionally on Fifth Street near the arena after a game has ended. That’s when crowds will be greatest, officials said.

Because of the crowds, the city might also bar drivers at times from turning onto side streets from College and Tryon streets between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Sixth Street.

On Friday and Saturday, drivers might also be stopped from turning onto side streets from College and Tryon between Stonewall and Ninth streets.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak

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