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Prospect Park to close Friday for President Obama’s Brooklyn visit

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PARK SLOPE, Brooklyn (PIX11) Alex Koltchak of Windsor Terrace was one of several park goers to witness what’s believed to be a practice run for President Obama’s landing in Brooklyn Friday.

“I heard them before I saw them. And I stuck my head out my kitchen window and saw what I presumed was Marine One and thought it was unbelievable. So I ran out the door and saw the other one coming down right over the tree line. So I ran here into the park and there they were, there were three Marine One and Two escort helicopters,” Koltchak said.

If that’s the case, you won’t be able to witness the actual event. That’s because part of Prospect Park will be shut down for six hours, from noon till six, during the President’s visit.  Officials wouldn’t say exactly which part, but it seems likely it will be a flat, wide-open area suitable for large helicopters.

Thursday, PIX11 caught security officials surveying the park as they make the final preparations for the President’s arrival.

Even though joggers, dog walkers, and bike riders won’t be able to use the park while he’s here, most were excited to welcome Mr. Obama to Brooklyn.

“I hope he has a great time while he’s here,” said Paul Carpenter of Flatbush.

They’ll just try to avoid traffic until he leaves.

“I’ll just make sure I don’t drive anywhere tomorrow,” he added.

The reason for the President’s trip is a visit to P-TECH in Crown Heights. The new school is a partnership between IBM, CUNY, and the Department of Education, and puts a new twist on vocational training. Students who graduate after six years are prepared to enter the workforce. President Obama is so impressed with the model, he even gave them a shout out during his State of The Union address.

“Now at schools like P-Tech in Brooklyn, students will graduate with a high school diploma and an associates degree in computers or engineering. We need to give every American student opportunities like this,” Obama said in 2012.

“I heard somebody saying Barack Obama’s coming and I was like, ‘Wow that’s what’s up.’  Yeah, and to visit Brooklyn schools, we need that,” said Crown Heights resident Ivette Jones.

P-TECH is about 20 blocks from Prospect Park and the President is expected to arrive sometime around 2 p.m.