G-8 Summit Planning

Plans for the G-8 summit to be held on Sea Island next June are way ahead of schedule. That's the word from Washington in a special presentation in Richmond Hill today to area leaders. Officials from the White House and the Secret Service answered a lot of basic questions we all have about what the G-8 summit will really bring to our area.

In a nutshell, this is what the G-8 summit will bring to the Coastal Empire. "We're going to have leaders of eight industrial nations of the world come here with hundreds of staff each and thousands of reporters," said Barry Bennett, director of communications for the summit.

More than 7,000 people are expected in all. And to get ready for the crowd, changes on Sea Island are already taking place. Three new towers have been installed to increase cell phone coverage on the island.

And maps are being made to make sure all the media and world leaders can get to the most important places in the Coastal Empire. "This really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase all the beauty and variety we have here to the world," said Vernon Martin with the Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center..

But with the summit comes security, and a lot of rumors about roadways and waterways shutting down, which the Bennett says are not true. "If everyone would just wait until the security plan comes out, no one is going to miss work because of this, no one is going to be that inconvenienced," he said.

So what about the protestors, infamous for following the G-8? Washington says most are harmless and will stay in a staging area. "There are a few bad eggs," said Bennett. "Those folks are being watched closely by the Secret Service, and if they come to town, we'll be all over them."

Over the next few months, the people attending the G-8 summit will start visiting the Coastal Empire, coming at least twice before the summit.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro, kangelastro@wtoc.com