Eclipse Trip: Hopkinsville's economy gets eclipse tourist boost

Being one of the best spots in the country to view the solar eclipse, the town of Hopkinsville, Kentucky is welcoming tourists and welcoming the boost to its local economy.

It is a town of only about 32,000 people. But, city leaders expect between 100,000 to 200,000 people will descend on the city on Monday, adding about 30 million dollars to the local economy.

It has been all hands on deck for businesses preparing for the influx. Grocery store managers and restaurant owners have all been making sure they have enough inventory to supply enthusiasts with what they need.

"They talked about 200,000 people or 100,000 people," said Popcorn Vendor owner John Kennedy. "What I did was I figured I'd be here for three days, and I brought as much product as I could cook in three days."
 
Holly Boggess, the city's downtown renaissance director, said several new businesses have opened and relocated to the downtown area over the last 10 years, but she's really seen a lot of movement in the last year in anticipation of the number of people who will be visiting for the eclipse.
 
In preparation for the eclipse, extra law enforcement members were brought in to assist Hopkinsville's 82 sworn police officers.
 
"Our sheriff's department has called in all of their special deputies for this weekend," Steve Tribble, County Judge Executive of Christian County, said. "We have the Kentucky State Police coming here with a graduating class. They're just bringing them all to this area of the state. We also have some National Guard folks coming to help with, at least, traffic on Monday. We have 80-100 National Guardmen. So, it's just all hands on deck."
 
Portable medical facilities -- with near emergency room level functionality -- were erected in the area to meet any emergency medical demands. Portable cellular towers were also put up in order to accommodate the high concentration of mobile device users.
 
People are coming from all over the globe for the eclipse from as far away as Spain and Denmark. And it was not just the people who have been planning this for months or years. A lot took the trip as a spur of the moment decision.

"Oh yea, I had no idea what in the world the eclipse meant until I started seeing all the buzz," remarked Charlie Starling from Indianapolis. "And, being in Indianapolis, it'll be like a 90-95 percent eclipse. And, all I've heard is that's nothing. You gotta be there. You gotta be there in the bath. So, I'm like okay. I'll take off work. We'll come down here. I'm really excited. I have no idea what to expect."

 

© 2017 KCEN-TV


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