President Barack Obama will travel to Arcadia on Tuesday for a tour of the DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center and speech, the White House announced this afternoon.
Obama will be at the facility at 11:45 a.m.
Before the official announcement, the had been abuzz with rumors that Obama was planning a visit during a swing through Florida next week.
Maj. Sam Williams of the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office said he could not verify if the president was planning on stopping in this community about 70 miles east of Bradenton to visit the new Florida Power and Light solar power plant.
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“We were advised by advanced people from the White House to refer all inquires to them,” Williams said.
FPL officials, usually quick to promote any positive news, were mum about the President’s plans.
Rae Dowling, the company’s area manager for external affairs based in Sarasota, said today she had no information when she was asked about reports that the president would be coming to the area.
Dowling said she would contact the press when she had specific information.
According to the White House, Obama is scheduled to arrive at Sarasota Bradenton International Airport about 10:45 a.m. before traveling to Arcadia. A scheduled departure time was not announced.
The event at Arcadia is set to start at 11 a.m.
The phone at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel, the largest overnight accommodation facility in Arcadia, went unanswered when a call was placed to see if they were booked for Tuesday.
The management at the Chili’s restaurant near the hotel was skittish about answering any questions about the president and responded with a “no comment” and, “You’ll have to call corporate.”
A call to the number the local Chili’s manager gave for “corporate” was to the voice mail of a computer help line for IS Restaurants.
So until the word comes from the White House, the president will be only visiting “Southwest Florida,” according to a White House press briefing this morning.
Bradenton Herald reporters Sara Kennedy and Duane Marsteller contributed to this report.