Frederick County officials welcomed news Tuesday that President Barack Obama will host this year's G-8 summit at Camp David.
They also acknowledged the potential for protests of the sort that have accompanied past gatherings of the leaders of the Group of Eight most developed nations.
"I look at it as a potential positive," said Blaine Young, president of the Frederick County Commission. "Hopefully the surrounding businesses would see some economic impact. And maybe [attendees] would even journey farther in to see the rest of Frederick County."
County officials learned of the high-security event on Tuesday, a spokeswoman for County Sheriff Charles A. "Chuck" Jenkins said. Spokeswoman Cpl. Jennifer Bailey said the department would work with federal agencies to coordinate plans.
The annual meeting of the G-8 on May 18 and 19 was to have been held in Chicago. The White House announced the late change of venue Monday night with no advance warning and little explanation.
White House national security spokesman Tommy Vietor told the Associated Press that the presidential retreat in the Catoctin Mountains would allow for more intimate discussions among the G-8 members.
Vietor said security and the possibility of protests were not factors in the decision.
Held every year since 1975, the annual meeting brings together the heads of government from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom to discuss issues of shared concern. Hosting responsibilities rotate among the member nations.
Meetings in years past have attracted hundreds of thousands of demonstrators speaking for a variety of causes. Protesters and security forces have clashed, sometimes violently.
After the shooting death of a demonstrator at the 2001 summit in Genoa, Italy, and the attacks of Sept. 11 later that year, hosts have opted to hold the event at remote, easily controlled locations.
A military installation, Camp David lies 20 miles north of Frederick, 60 miles west of Baltimore and 60 miles north of Washington. The rural retreat does not appear on maps published by the government.
It was unclear where demonstrators, if they chose to attend, would gather. Security officials typically close roads around the retreat when the president is hosting foreign leaders there.
"It's a different venue," said Young, the county commission president. "In terms of how the people, if there are protesters, how they would seek ways to find the attention they're looking for – it's a different setting."
Young said the federal government would take the lead on security.
"I'm sure that they have some type of vision in place," he said. "But obviously they'll be coordinating with our sheriff. …
"I have faith in the fact that those in law enforcement, those that are paid to deal with those issues, generally they've thought about those types of things inside and out."
Converted to a presidential retreat by President Franklin D. Rooseveltduring World War II, Camp David has long experience hosting world leaders.
President Jimmy Carter brokered the peace accords between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin there in 1978.
President Bill Clinton took Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat there in 2000 in an attempt to reach a final status settlement between their peoples.
President George W. Bushhosted several foreign leaders at Camp David, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
Young welcomed the G-8 summit.
"We're very proud to have Camp David in our county," he said. "Any time an event like this can take place at Camp David, it highlights Frederick County, and there could be potential economic impact."