Judge approves NBA All-Star fence

Safety fence construction starts Thursday

ORLANDO, Fla. - A judge ruled against Church Street business owners on Tuesday and approved the NBA All-Star weekend safety fence around the Amway Center.

The 8-foot-tall, 600-foot-long fence construction will begin Thursday.

Despite the 30 minute passionate testimony from business owners, Orange County Judge Alice Blackwell judge said they failed to show evidence of monetary damage from the fence being put up.

Business owner Alfonso Adams agreed, saying they didn't have numerical proof that it would hurt business.

"There are a lot of hypotheticals being created, and one of those hypotheticals is that you will actually lose money," Adams said.

Both Church Street business owners and city officials were in court Tuesday to discuss the fence that will be built around the arena during the three days of festivities, which are expected to bring in around 50,000 people.

Ten business owners said they sued the city for potential lost revenue from the fence. They also said the fence is a violation of their lease and Amway Center attendees should be able to walk in and out of their businesses without being discouraged by a fence.

The city extended compensation offers to each of the 10 affected businesses, but only one accepted it by the Feb. 8 deadline.

The city said they need the fence because of safety concerns. They said they didn't have enough time before the All-Star game to redo the safety plan, which they have been working on for the past year, to take down the fence.

"We need to protect against any negative security event that could occur," said Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins. "The eyes of the world are on this event."

Blackwell agreed with the safety issue, saying that the NBA All-Star game is an international event, requiring more security.

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