Landowners in Jackson County look to profit during solar eclipse - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Landowners in Jackson County look to profit during solar eclipse

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JACKSON COUNTY -- As the August solar eclipse event draws nearer, more people show interest in making a buck from of tens of thousands of visitors expected to show up.

Meantime, Jackson County leaders are taking steps to make sure everything stays legitimate, especially when it comes to renting out space for RVs or tents. They will soon vote on an ordinance to require renters to get a license from the county health department, at a cost of $100, to insure the safety of camping areas.

Longtime Carbondale resident Richard Thalman says he may decide to rent out 11 acres near his home to visitors during the solar eclipse.

"This is probably going to be one of the more memorable events in my lifetime that's happened to our area," Thalman said.

According to county officials involved in planning for the eclipse, some visitors could pay $500 a night for camping space, a good incentive for land owners like Thalman.

"I'm glad to hear that people are willing to pay those kinds of prices," Thalman said.

Jackson County Board Chairman John Rendleman considers the eclipse a great opportunity for southern Illinois, but wants rules to maintain health and safety.

The new ordinance establishes a certified procedure for renters to set up a camp site.

"Technically, this applies to anyone who wants to provide public accommodation whether or not they are charging for it," Rendleman said.

The ordinance would apply to renting space to campers in general, not just during the eclipse. Rendleman said the license requires land owners to provide items like porta potties and hand washers for guests.

Thalman said he wouldn't mind these rules, and expects land owner may hold the key to the area's economic success.

"Hearing that the hotels are full is exciting and all, but we may not have enough space available if people like myself don't join on board and help bring as many people to the area as possible," Thalman said.

Rendleman said the county has already budgeted for increased costs during the solar eclipse event for services like trash pick up and police patrols.

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