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Apr
18
2024
Village Life

On Monday, April 8, starting at 1:54 p.m., from the village’s vantage point, the moon will begin its passage between the Earth and the sun, completely blotting out our local star for just over two minutes at 3:09 p.m. The spring afternoon will turn to night and fully back to day again by 4:25 p.m. (News archive photo)

Yellow Springs prepares for April 8 eclipse

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On Monday, April 8, Yellow Springs will have a front row view of a once-in-a-lifetime event of astronomical proportions: a total solar eclipse.

Starting at 1:54 p.m., from the village’s vantage point, the moon will begin its passage between the Earth and the sun, completely blotting out our local star for just over two minutes at 3:09 p.m. The spring afternoon will turn to night and fully back to day again by 4:25 p.m.

Yellow Springs is among the hundreds of municipalities within a 124-mile-wide band running diagonally across the state that will experience totality — that is, where the moon’s shadow completely covers the sun. The last total solar eclipse visible in Ohio was in 1806; the next will occur in 2099.

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Owing to the celestial allure of the event, as well as Yellow Springs’ ever-growing attraction to visitors and tourists, local officials are preparing for a sharp influx of sky gazers planning to come to the village April 8.

As Police Chief Paige Burge told Village Council at the group’s regular meeting on Monday, March 4, she’s expecting Yellow Springs’ perennial issues of heavy traffic and limited parking to worsen “tenfold or twentyfold” on the day of the eclipse and the weekend before.

“We’re looking to get ahead of that and be prepared for any worst-case scenario,” Burge said.

In an earlier memo to Council, Burge said she anticipates a 40–60% increase in Greene County’s population on the days around the eclipse. She also highlighted recent state data that predicts half a million visitors will come to Ohio during those days.

Also in her memo, Burge referenced the Aug. 21, 2017, solar eclipse that crossed much of the U.S., creating a path of totality from the Pacific Northwest through the Southeast. According to Burge, that event overwhelmed small towns in and around that totality path with incredible traffic congestion and gridlock, bringing many millions of drivers across the country to a standstill for up to 12 hours; exhausted resources that led to food, gas and lodging shortages; and, from limited access to bathrooms and trash receptacles, created manifold public sanitation issues.

“That 2017 eclipse impacted small villages and cities like ours worse than any other areas,” Burge told Council members. “This was because they were ill prepared. Fortunately, because those places learned the lesson the hard way, we now know better.”

To avoid those problems, Burge said the Village will follow the state and county Emergency Management Agency directives, and has this to say to visitors: “Come early. Stay late.”

“A staggered arrival and exit of people will prevent any gridlock and taxing of our resources,” Burge said, encouraging visitors not to leave town the moment the eclipse concludes.

Also anticipating potential traffic congestion are Yellow Springs Schools. In a board meeting last month, Superintendent Terri Holden announced that village schools will be closed Monday, April 8, for a “calamity day.” Holden cited concerns that first responders would have a difficult time getting to the schools in the event of an emergency. 

Parking, viewing details

In recent weeks, the Village has laid out several site-specific logistical plans for April 8, many of which can be viewed on the newly created, Village-moderated website, eclipse.yso.com.

The Village will also direct visitors to several parking areas, some of which are free.

Free parking lots will be located:

• On Cemetery Street
• At First Baptist Church, 600 Dayton St.
• In Kieth’s Alley, adjacent to Beatty-Hughes Park
• Next to Kings Yard, 125 S. Walnut St. 
• At the John Bryan Community Center, 100 Dayton St. 
• Near the intersection of Corry Street and Xenia Avenue
• At MVECA, 888 Dayton St., with an entrance off East Enon Road
• On Railroad Street, next to the Little Miami Scenic Bike Trail

Paid parking lots will be located:

• At the Antioch College library, 187 Marshall St.
• At the Foundry Theater at Antioch College, 920 Corry St.
• Millworks Business Center, 305 N. Walnut St.
• Yellow Springs High School, 420 E. Enon Road

The Village is encouraging cyclists to park their bikes at Ellis Park on Polecat Road, which has direct access to the bike path.

Burge said at Monday’s Council meeting that she and Miami Township Fire-Rescue Chief Denny Powell are considering preventing on-street parking on portions of Dayton Street and Xenia Avenue during the hours before, during and after the eclipse to allow access for emergency vehicles — though, she added, that plan has not yet been finalized.

Regarding those potential downtown parking limitations, Burge had this to say to business owners: “We know that may be tough, but there shouldn’t be any issue bringing in business that day, I assure you.”

Also, as outlined on the Village’s eclipse website, Gaunt Park, the John Bryan Community Center, the Millworks business center and the Antioch College “golf course”  have been designated and are being promoted as official eclipse viewing areas. At those locations, there will be games, live music and 15 food trucks.   

As for public sanitation, the Village will have 100 porta-potties at the viewing areas and most of the designated parking lots. According to Village Manager Johnnie Burns, that’s 35 more than what the Village has for the twice-annual Street Fair, which typically brings upwards of 20,000 people to Yellow Springs.

The News will continue to provide logistical updates regarding the Monday, April 8, total solar eclipse as they are made available from the Village. For other updates, parking and viewing maps, as well as additional information on food and entertainment, go to eclipse.yso.com.

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2 Responses to “Yellow Springs prepares for April 8 eclipse”

  1. Tea says:

    100 toilets? Is some temporary nocturia expected for humans during the eclipse or is this just a robust precaution for local beer bladders?

  2. Yvonne Wingard says:

    Everyone always worries about shoppers’ parking. What about those of us who have to be downtown to work but don’t live in the village?
    I’m thinking of coming in at 7am just to get parking….UGH~

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