Local businesses prepare for thousands of visitors for Muhammad Ali's funeral services
Thousands are expected in Louisville by week's end for Ali's funeral services. It will put the city's hotels and restaurants on high alert, but they're ready.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- You see someone new each time you come out to the Muhammad Ali Center.
The memorial continues to grow, as out-of-towners get here and pay their respects.
The city and its businesses are getting ready for the big crowds, as the end of the week gets closer.
Saying goodbye to a legend is never easy. This week, it's taking all Louisville has. The rush, in many ways, is already happening.
"They're already starting to filter in as far as the tourists, and foot traffic in and around the city," said Cara Thomas at Doc Crow's.
From city leaders and planning, to security and traffic, to businesses that will feed and give mourners a place to stay. Even for hotels and eateries that are used to feeling the heat. Like in March, during the tournament and on the first Saturday in May.
"We are staffing even more so than we do on those days," Thomas said.
Doc Crow's says it's their only option. Manny & Merle isn't far behind.
"We're staffed up and ready to go," said Wayne Sweeney at Manny & Merle.
Both restaurants are just feet from where the huge Ali memorial will be held Friday. They expect crowds, and look to show Ali fans what the Champ loved about this city.
"They're going to be kind of down, so it's our opportunity as Louisvillians to put a smile on their face," Sweeney said.
Meanwhile, looking for a place to stay is going to be tough.
"We are near capacity already," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.
The Hyatt, Marriott, Galt House, all of them, according to the mayor. And more people are on the way.
Down to the wire planning and preparing, that's a must when "the greatest" called your city home.
TARC will be providing free rides to and from the Yum Center on Friday.
Anyone with tickets to the service can park for free at the Kentucky Expo Center.
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