Wednesday, April 17, 2024
News from Eclipseville

The final countdown!


Our community eclipse preparations are in the final phase as we enter the last week before the eclipse. Here are a few things you should know about how the City of Gatesville has prepared.

Public Safety

When we began the planning process, we identified public safety as our number one priority. The Gatesville Police Department will have additional officers on patrol April 5-9. The primary reason for this is to manage traffic with the additional vehicles on our streets. While we expect that our visitors will be peaceful, law-abiding folks, we also know that a significant increase of people in town will inevitably increase the number of calls.

The Gatesville Volunteer Fire Department has developed a plan to have personnel prepared to respond quickly in anticipation of a potential increase in accidents and incidents.

Other city departments, including Street, Parks and Recreation, Water, and Wastewater are prepared for the influx of visitors and the additional strain that could create on our systems and processes.

Coryell Health has done a thorough evaluation of how the eclipse and the increase in people in our community will impact their regular operations. Clinic, hospital, and EMS staff have been meeting regularly to ensure that they are prepared to continue to provide a high level of care for residents and visitors alike.

Both the County and the City will be issuing emergency declarations. There has been some media coverage about these declarations by other jurisdictions. Residents should not be alarmed by these declarations. They simply provide our City and County with the means to receive assistance from the state or federal level as needed.

A Fun and Safe Weekend

Over the last few months, we’ve worked to educate and prepare our residents and businesses for the impact that the anticipated number of visitors will have on our daily routines. After talking with representatives from many communities that were in the path of totality in 2017, I’m confident that there is no reason to be fearful of what this event will bring. We do need to prepare, as we would if there were a winter storm predicted. In the coming week, stock up on what your household will need for next weekend so that you don’t have to deal with the extra traffic at the grocery store or gas station. Have some cash on hand in case you do need to make a purchase and internet problems affect credit and debit transactions. If you make these preparations before Friday, it will help our businesses restock and be prepared for visitors over the weekend.

Our “BLOCK out the sun PARTY” will take place around the square on Saturday, April 6, from 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 7, from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. See the ad in the Visitors Guide in this issue for more information. Local businesses, including The Junction on 36, Bare Bones BBQ, and Texas Station Event Center, have planned events for the weekend so that our residents and visitors can come together to celebrate the eclipse. We don’t expect any significant traffic issues over the weekend, so we encourage our visitors and residents to get out and enjoy the weekend festivities.

Monday is Eclipse Day!

On Monday, we expect additional visitors to arrive in town throughout the morning. Many of them will be heading to planned events where they already reserved a space. These include events at the Civic Center/Sports Complex, Coryell Community Church, and The Last Drive-In, as well as multiple smaller events in and outside of town. There will also be visitors who arrive with no plan other than to find a parking lot or space to park along the road. Our police department will be working to make sure that these visitors are in safe locations and are not violating any laws in the selection of their viewing locations. We also know that there will be large numbers of travelers through our community on US 84 and Hwy 36. We expect heavy traffic, especially on the highways, immediately after the eclipse and for several hours afterward. If you can, avoid traveling on Monday afternoon.

Above all, I hope that you have your glasses and a plan that will allow you to experience the wonder of this total solar eclipse. The next one visible in the Central Texas area will occur in 2343.