After the eclipse: Carbondale, IL reflects on experience

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Heartland Eclipse 2017 has come and gone and city leaders in Carbondale, Illinois reflected on how everything played out on Tuesday, August 22.

Mayor John "Mike" Henry and City Manager Gary Williams talked about what worked and what didn't work during all of the planned eclipse activities.

The City of Carbondale estimated approximately 50,000 people came to Carbondale to see the total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21.

"Thanks to long-term planning, we had a very successful event in Carbondale," said Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry. "We had people in attendance from all parts of the world. We're looking forward to doing this again in seven years."

The Carbondale Police Department had no reports of any significant incidents related to the eclipse.

"Our eclipse planning came together with the assistance of all of our regional, state and federal public safety partners who each played a vital role in the single largest event Carbondale has ever experienced," said Carbondale Police Chief Jeff Grubbs. "For the last four days, they worked hard to make sure our residents and visitors alike had a great and safe experience. I am very proud of all of them."

Now that it's over, are local business owners seeing green?

Business owners in Carbondale had an interesting take on the crowd from the eclipse weekend..

"It was difficult because we did not know what was going to happen," business owner Tippy said reflecting on the impact of the eclipse. "The numbers were suppose to be 100,000 people or over 100,000 people, and we had to be prepared to take care of those people."

Tippy is the co-owner at Global Restaurant.

Lance Jack, owner at Fat Patties said the amount of visitors soared.

"We had more people here than we had in a long time," Jack said. "Pretty much everybody on staff worked everyday and some of us worked doubles each day. Without sleep, we get tired."

Tirelessly, they pushed through the weekend and even Monday, but it they said it was all worth it.

"We went over our goals, which is really good and the people were receptive to our business," Tippy said.

Most importantly, the people had a good time.

"It was a great crowd. It was a lot of people. And everybody seemed like they were having a good time," Dairy Queen owner, Mark Waicukauski said.

"We had a lot of visitors that came to town and  left with a god impression of the university and the community," Jack said.

"Carbondale has made it's spot on the map for sure….in 7 years we better be ready," Tippy added.

The consensus is this was a great weekend for business Fat Patties even has leftover souvenir eclipse glasses and Global is open but with a smaller menu to give the kitchen a rest.

City leaders said they look forward to preparing for the next total solar eclipse in 2024.

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