Darke County 2024 Eclipse Task Force Meeting October 3

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The Darke County 2024 Eclipse Task Force met on Tuesday, October 3, to discuss plan updates for the Total Solar Eclipse on Monday, April 8, 2024.

The solar Eclipse will start in Greenville around 2 pm, will be in total Eclipse from around 3:08 pm until around 3:12 pm, and be over around 4:30 pm. Click here to view the Greenville, Ohio, eclipse simulator. 

Ken Johnson from the Darke County EMA (Emergency Management Agency) led Tuesday’s meeting.

“We are preparing for something that could happen and will happen on some level but may not be as significant as we are preparing for,” Johnson said. “Public safety and emergency management plan for a realistic worst case.”

The hospitality committee presented an update. Many hotel rooms in the area are already booked for the Eclipse in April. As of September 11, 2023, 53% of rooms are reserved for Saturday, 83% of rooms are reserved for Sunday, and 69% of rooms are reserved for Monday.

Many locations in the area plan on hosting events. This includes the Darke County Fairgrounds, BMI Event Center, Wayne Theater, Main Street Greenville, and the Darke County Airport. The Darke County Parks is planning events as well.

The primary safety concerns for this event are eye protection, shelter concerns, and traffic.

For eye protection during the Eclipse, specific glasses are made so you can enjoy the sight of the Eclipse without damaging your eyesight. The task force is figuring out how many glasses to get, their funding, and whether they should be sold or given away for free.

For shelter, some campgrounds are opening early and plan on having extra campsites. As of September 13, 2023, Stillwater Beach Campground, Wildcat Woods Campground, and Darke County Fairgrounds plan to open early and possibly add additional sites.

While traffic control and safety are also significant concerns, ODOT, OSP, and the Darke County Sheriff’s Office agree that, unfortunately, they have to wait and see. There is not enough information right now to make final decisions.

There was also an update from the Darke County Educational Service Center. Currently, most schools in the county are talking about an early release with a cancellation of after-school activities on the day of the Eclipse. However, having schools in session brings safety concerns with the buses and students in traffic. The DCESC is pushing for schools to close, but the schools will not commit to closing until the event gets closer and they have more information.

Also mentioned in the meeting, the Darke County Visitor’s Bureau is developing a map of Darke County for the Eclipse. This will include events and their locations, contacts, and emergency information. They are also hoping to make a downloadable version of the map.

As we get closer to the event, the Darke County Eclipse Task Force will continue to gather information and work on the best way to enjoy the Eclipse safely.

The Eclipse is in 188 days as of October 3.