Area businesses plan for solar eclipse - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Area businesses plan for solar eclipse

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JACKSON CO. -- It's still more than a year away, but plans for the 2017 total solar eclipse are beginning to take shape in southern Illinois. Since our area will provide some of the best views, business owners and city leaders met in Carbondale Tuesday to brainstorm ideas. 

It's another busy day at Attitude Designs in Carbondale for Roxanne Conley. But not far off in the distance is the solar eclipse. 

"For small businesses across the board, there's not anyone probably in southern Illinois who is not going to be impacted," said Roxanne Conley, owner of Attitude Designs. 

With the eclipse expected to bring thousands to southern Illinois next August, business owners like Conley have some concerns.

City of Carbondale Eclipse Coordinator Diane Regan asked, "What will we do with all of these people? That's the biggest category I hear from everyone."

In an effort to develop an action plan, city leaders and business owners met Tuesday in Carbondale to hash out some of those issues, including traffic, crowd control, accommodations and transportation.

Regan said, "I know we have the ability to make it happen and to accommodate. We just need to keep working on it and stick with our mission and be ready for next summer."

Planning for the solar eclipse doesn't stop in Carbondale. Businesses along the Makanda Boardwalk are already preparing for next year.

"Besides all of the pendents I've made already that are solar pendants all across here, then we have the solar wall," said Dave Dardis, owner of Rainmaker Art Studio. 

And the work doesn't stop there. Outside the Rainmaker Art Studio, Dardis is marking the occasion in a unique way. 

Dardis said, "It's on Google that the center line of this eclipse comes right through Makanda and actually comes right through this shop, so that's why we painted the line." 

It's just one effort Dardis hopes puts southern Illinois on the map. 

"We'll be taking advantage of this for the next 50 years," said Dardis. 

The next solar eclipse meeting in Carbondale is planned for August 16. The public is encouraged to attend. If you have questions or would like to get involved, send an email.

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