INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Downtown business owners braced for the possibility of post-election unrest sparked by delayed results, a contested presidential election or anger over a presumptive winner.
Nearly half the buildings on Monument Circle were covered with wooden boards by Monday night.
Some business owners anticipating unrest said they were still recovering from damage caused by looters and rioters in May.
Michael Slover, a general contractor, said approximately 70 downtown businesses boarded up their windows Monday; he expected dozens more to follow suit before Tuesday night.
This year marked the first time Slover had been hired to reinforce windows ahead of Election Day in his 32-year construction career.
“This is the first time I’ve ever seen it like this [before a presidential election],” he told News 8, pointing to businesses on the Circle.
Slover’s downtown clients were diverse and had a wide range of political beliefs, he said, but all shared similar concerns about election-related unrest.
“And it don’t matter who wins,” he added.
Josh Cook, another contractor, said Monument Circle businesses reported more than $3 million in damage following the May riots. He charged $5,000 in material fees to board up a building.
Danielle Cooney, general manager of Soupremacy on East Market Street, said her team was “seriously considering” additional safety measures after nearby banks, a law firm, an optometry practice and other businesses boarded up their windows.
She was initially opposed to installing wooden boards because she didn’t like “the look” and felt it made downtown Indianapolis look unsafe.
Josh Bain, a Republican city-county council member, said he couldn’t “fault the businesses wanting to take extra steps just to make sure they’re protected.”
He walked by the Circle during a live News 8 report and noted the sight of boarded up businesses the night before a presidential election was “disheartening.”
“I hope no matter who wins tomorrow, both sides remain peaceful and we just accept the results,” Bain said.