Mayor talks about how small KY town prepared for solar eclipse

Mayor talks about how small KY town prepared for solar eclipse (WKEF/WRGT)

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky (WKEF/WRGT)- Hopkinsville, KY, is at the center of the upcoming total solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21.

The town has been preparing for the event for nearly a decade.

Mayor Carter Hendricks said it all started with a phone call in 2007 from an eclipse chaser.

"Who was asking questions about the total solar eclipse in 2017 and was talking about going ahead and booking a hotel room," Hendricks said.

The town has officially proclaimed itself Eclipseville, USA. The eclipse was on the radar after that 2007 phone call but no one really knew what to expect.

Officials got a better idea of what to expect in 2013. That’s when an eclipse chaser and expert talked to the community about the event.

"As he was giving his speech that day, I kept looking at the screen with his photos from the different eclipses he had been a part of and what I kept seeing was thousands upon thousands of people in each photo no matter how remote each photo was," Hendricks said.

One of the things Hendricks did after being elected mayor more than two years ago was to create an eclipse coordinator.

"To me it was really important that we had someone waking up each and every day thinking only about 'Is this community prepared for this influx of visitors?" And are we doing everything we can to put our best foot forward and create an awesome experience not just during the time of totality but for the few days leading up to it when people start getting into our community," Hendricks said.

The city has already marked several viewing spots and it's working with businesses to put its best foot forward.

FOX 45's Christian Hauser spoke with Dean Place and his wife. The couple owns a restaurant just off Main St.

"The opportunities are endless and the city has really stepped up. As a community we've really been working together to make sure that Hopkinsville is shown in an incredible light," Place said.

The mayor said they're trying to think of everything but it's tough since there isn't really anything to compare the eclipse to.

"There was a healthy degree of skepticism so it wasn't until that eclipse expert came to the community that we really began to see, with those photos began to see with our own eyes, 'Wow this really is this significant of an event and from there for me it became much like you prepare for the Kentucky Derby or the Super Bowl," Hendricks.

Ten years of planning will come down to just over two minutes and 40 seconds, that’s how long the eclipse is expected to last.

Click here to learn more about the upcoming total solar eclipse.

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