Local Q&A Announcements

How many people are expected to come for the Total Solar Eclipse?

Southern Illinois estimates as a region we will encounter up to 100k people. The city of Carbondale expects up to 50k for just our area. Consequently, if the weather is not conducive for viewing, we will experience a significant decrease in the number of attendees.

Are there going to be glasses available for the public? Will they be free? For sale? Some of both?

Eclipse glasses are available at several businesses including Quatro’s Pizza, Fat Patties, Primo’s Pizza, Tres Hombres, Murdale True Value, First Mid-Illinois Bank, Vic Koenig, Chris Auffenberg, Dunkin Donuts, Banterra Bank, Carbondale Public Library, and at the Carbondale Tourism Visitor Center. Contact Carbondale Tourism at 618-529-4451 to find additional locations.

Are there plans for information stations downtown?

There will be information booths located at the Carbondale Tourism office at 126 S Illinois Ave, the Civic Center at 200 S Illinois Ave, the Carbondale Eclipse Marketplace at 509 S Illinois Ave, and the Family Fun Zone at the Town Square Pavilion. There will also be information booths located at each of the three off-site parking locations.

Why is Carbondale so important during this Eclipse? As the Eclipse will reach so many places, why is Carbondale such a hot spot?

The path of the total solar eclipse will stretch across the entire United States, reaching its point of greatest duration a few miles south of Carbondale. This will make the area a focal point for scientists and eclipse chasers from across the world. During “Totality”, the City of Carbondale will experience a total of 2 minutes and 38 seconds of total darkness. Carbondale is not only in the path of the 2017 eclipse, but also the 2024 eclipse, making it a unique location for being able to perform observations of both eclipses from the same location.

Where is parking located, are there lots throughout the city?

Maps will be forthcoming with specific information, go to http://www.carbondaleeclipse.com/get-around/ for additional information.

City parking lots are first-come first served with a 2hr max limit.

Remote parking will be at CCHS, University Mall, and the west side parking area(s) will be accessed via Ready Mix Road (off North 51) and will be located near the intersection of Ready Mix Road and Oakland Avenue). The cost is $5 cash or $7 credit

City Hall lot is for handicap accessible parking only.

Parking lots will also be color coded to ensure you are riding the correct shuttle bus back to your car.

What are the parking areas & shuttle hours? Are there overnight options?

CCHS, University Mall & Oakland will operate with shuttles from 10am-12midnight. There are no options for overnight parking. Parking tickets/towing will be enforced.

Are the parking spaces sold by the day first come, first serve? How much do they cost? When will people be charged (in advance/upon arrival)?

For daily offsite parking (see above), the City is charging $7.00 (credit card) or $5.00 (cash) for all day parking and shuttle rides between the offsite parking areas and the Civic Center. There will be no advance purchases of parking passes for these lots. In the downtown area, parking in the other City-owned parking lots will be two-hour maximum, except for the lots located at the intersections of Mill and Washington and Lincoln and Illinois, which will be $20 for all day.

Accessible parking will be free at the City Hall/Civic Center.

Where are pick up sites for shuttle transportation?

Pickup sites will be located near the 3 remote parking areas and at City Hall. Shuttles will run between the various parking sites and City Hall; no other stops are planned. There will also be a shuttle service available to transport people from City Hall to the SIU campus.

There are no shuttles provided by the City from SIA airport, hotels, or Murdale Shopping Center.

How are the City and SIU working together to ensure that both transportation and also events and activities in general go smoothly? How much are you coordinating?

Representatives from the City, SIU, Carbondale Tourism, the Chamber of Commerce, Carbondale Main Street, and the general community meet regularly, so information is being readily shared. SIU will have shuttles from their parking areas to the events on campus and the Saluki Express will run its regular schedule.

If we have 50,000 people come into town, can our infrastructure, roads, and planning allow for parking for all of those people?

The City’s infrastructure should be adequate for whatever number of visitors we receive, though roadways can only handle so much traffic at one time. It’s possible that we may experience some traffic issues with 50,000 additional people in town. This is the primary reason that remote parking areas with shuttle busses are being created.

If my business would like to help with transportation, can I contract with the City to provide this service for a fee?

The only shuttle routes supported by the City will be for the routes serving offsite parking areas and the Civic Center and a route between the Civic Center and SIU campus.

Will Saluki Express be operating as usual with normal Fall semester routes?

It is the City’s understanding that the Saluki Express will be running their regular schedule.

Has anyone been communicating with Amtrak? Are they planning on accommodating more passengers for Eclipse weekend?

Amtrak has already launched a 30% discount for tickets to Carbondale for the Eclipse. As of June, there are no plans for any additional cars or trains.

Click here for this special rate.

What will be the best way to get around town during Eclipse weekend?

For out of town visitors, the best way is to park at one of the offsite lots and ride a shuttle to downtown. If the City gets the number of visitors that have been projected, it may be best for our local residents to avoid driving through the downtown area.

Are there going to be places for the tour buses to park? (large groups and buses, entertainment, etc., at various locations, not just Eclipse parking locations…)

Tour buses will be allowed to park at the Super Block parking area.

Is there a backup plan if traffic gets too hectic downtown and towards City Hall?

Should traffic become hectic, City staff are developing plans to adjust traffic patterns to avoid congested areas as needed, and staff will be deployed to manually direct traffic and to maintain the best possible flow of traffic.

In bussing, is there a plan to use University Mall for parking?

Yes, portions of the University Mall parking lots will be used for a remote parking area. There will be a fee for these areas and shuttles will run between the parking areas and City Hall.

Our sidewalks seem narrow already, and with so many more people, is there a plan for how people can get around on sidewalks/is there an alternative?

On-street parking may be closed, if necessary, for pedestrian use.

Will there be a lot of foot traffic from SIU to City Hall? Is there a plan to make Mill Street intersection easier to navigate? Will there be wayfinding signage?

Construction of the multi-use path connecting downtown and campus will be completed by eclipse weekend, easing concerns of foot traffic. Wayfinding signage is planned to be installed downtown.

Will there be bus transportation throughout town?

Yes, the Saluki Express will be running on their regular schedule. In addition, there will be shuttle busses that run from the remote parking areas to the Civic Center, as well as between SIU and the Civic Center.

If my church wants to charge for parking in our parking lot, can we? Can we be added to the map?

Churches and businesses are free to charge for parking on their own properties, however because of the limited area that can be displayed on the interactive map, we will not be able to include those areas.

Are there plans for information stations downtown?

Yes, at City Hall, Carbondale Tourism, and at the Marketplace on South Illinois Avenue.

For the phase 1 of the power line relocation/streetscape project: Is there a timeline on that? How big is it? Who should we talk to about that?

The downtown Streetscape project is scheduled to be substantially complete by August 10, 2017. Questions can be directed to the City’s Engineering Division at (618) 457-3270

Is the City going to close down certain streets/ the Strip? If so, how will this impact my regular business (if located on those streets)?

The “Strip” (S. Illinois Ave.) will not be closed, however, South Washington Ave will be closed between the intersections of Walnut and Elm St. The second closure is expected to be West Hospital Dr. between S. Illinois and S. University Ave. The closures will provide the additional space needed for entertainment.

What citywide events will be going on? Days/Times?

Carbondale Eclipse Marketplace, Shadowfest, the Family Fun Zone in Town Square, and the Varsity Events.

If you are a business that is hosting an event we would love to advertise your event to the public by adding it to our calendar. Simply email info@carbondaleeclipse.com. For consideration, be sure to include the time, date, location, photo, and description.

How is the City coordinating with eclipse events held at SIU?

SIU and the City of Carbondale are working together to compliment one another. Members of each organization are communicating on a regular basis to ensure there are activities for all.

If I have special events/promotions for that weekend - Monday, how will visitors know about it? How can I drive traffic to my business during the eclipse weekend?

If you are a business that is hosting an event or specials we would love to advertise your event to the public by adding it to our calendar and social media. Simply email info@carbondaleeclipse.com. For consideration, be sure to include the time, date, location, photo, and description.

You may also Register for your free account on the regional website here or notify Carbondale Tourism to have your information shared with everyone! Carbondale Tourism is able to give your business a greater presence by publishing your information on multiple sites such as Carbondale Eclipse, Carbondale Tourism, Enjoy Illinois, Guest Quest, and WDBX community calendar.

If the city passes ‘fair days,’ what does this mean for me as a business?

Fair days will not be passed, however the city will allow for open containers. More details on this temporary ordinance can be found here.

What are the boundaries for the open alcohol policy?

Jackson Street to the North and Mill Street to the South and between Washington Street to the East and University Avenue to the West. See the map at http://www.carbondaleeclipse.com/get-around/

Is the open carry of alcohol all three days (Saturday/Sunday/Monday)?

11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily, Friday, August 18th through Monday, August 21st.

Plastic containers only!

If a restaurant wants to vend, is there an extra license needed, other than the application and deposit?

There are no additional requirements for restaurants to become vendor. Currently, the Marketplace is full, however, we are still seeking vendors for the Family Fun Zone and Shadowfest contact Carbondale Main Street for more details on vending.

For the Eclipse Marketplace vendor application, if I don’t have a business ID or insurance, can I submit the application anyway?

Carbondale Tourism is happy to accept all applications for the Marketplace. Not all businesses or organizations require a license, but all vendors are required to show proof of insurance.

UPDATE: Carbondale Eclipse Marketplace is full. Thank you for your interest.

Is there a fee for vendors at the Eclipse Marketplace? Where can we find information about the Eclipse Marketplace?

Yes, there was a fee for vendors based upon anticipated daily sales. The Eclipse Marketplace is full and a complete list can be found here.

Is the Eclipse Marketplace active all 3 days? Will there be entertainment there all 3 days?

The Eclipse Marketplace will begin on Saturday at 11am. Live music and the beer tent will have set hours from 11am-8pm on Saturday and Sunday. Vendors may operate as long as they would like until Monday, August 21 at 3:00 pm. Monday will only contain vendors.

Additional Eclipse Marketplace details can be found here.

Is the Eclipse Marketplace free for the public?

Public admission to the Marketplace and the entertainment there is free

Where is the vendor fair/local music (Eclipse Marketplace)?

The Eclipse Marketplace is being held at First Mid-Illinois Bank (Old National Bank) parking lot.

There will also be vendors at the Famil Fun Zone, Shadowfest, and the Crossroads festival at SIU.

Aside from the Marketplace, Shadowfest will offer local entertainment on Monday, August 21 from 11-5pm.

Who should I contact to learn more about the concert on Washington St. (Shadowfest)? Is it free to the public?

For details about Shadowfest, you may visit here or contact Carbondale Main Street at (618) 529-8040.

This event is free admission to the public.

Will the City honor mutual aid requests for public safety response requests from other jurisdictions during the Eclipse?

The City and other units of government in Jackson County have formal mutual aid agreements in place. Each request for mutual aid is evaluated based upon the needs of the City and the nature of the request from another jurisdiction. Further, regional public safety Eclipse pre-planning meetings have been ongoing since August, 2016 and mutual aid planning is included.

With the expected numbers of visitors, will our utilities (water, sewer, electrical, communications) be able to keep up with demand?

Staff does not expect any problems with the City’s water and sewer infrastructure; currently the City’s water treatment plant serves a population of about 50,000 persons (including our bulk water district customers) with average water demands being only half of the maximum capacity of the treatment plant. Similarly, the sewer plants have adequate reserve capacity.

Will the streetlights be on in the neighborhoods? Downtown? On campus?

The public street lights downtown will be controlled like they are during the Carbondale Lights Fantastic celebration.  Downtown private property owners may have their own photo cell-operated lights, and it is hoped that they will cooperate as they do during Lights Fantastic.  In the neighborhoods, most of streetlights are owned and operated by the various utility companies and not under the control of the City. Additionally they are typically controlled by a photo cell that is on top of each individual light. There’s a very good chance that these street lights will be on during the total phase of the eclipse.

Will you have police/volunteers, etc. on foot and in vehicles throughout the area?

Visitors and residents will notice an increased presence of public safety personnel throughout the Eclipse weekend. Police operational pre-planning includes both foot and vehicle patrols in the downtown and vehicle patrols throughout the City.

What is the City’s plan for security/police force during the Eclipse? Will they be able to cover all areas of town?

Police pre-planning includes mutual aid contingencies to ensure the safety and security of the entire City.

How do I prevent trespassing on my property?

You can certainly put “no trespassing signs on your property if you feel it’s a concern. Illinois also abides by the purple paint law for those with large fields.

Is there a plan for recycling/trash/cleanup efforts?

Keep Carbondale Beautiful is planning cleanup efforts. The City will have additional patrols in the downtown area to empty dumpsters and trash cans as needed.

What can I do to have higher sales/revenue?

Planning is key! Think about having modified menus, being open and staying open for longer hours, and having outdoor stations. You will need all hands on deck to ensure efficient turnover.

What advice do you have for businesses? How can they plan an eclipse event?

Several of our Carbondale businesses are closed on Sunday’s & Monday’s. We highly advise BEING OPEN if you cater to tourists. We also recommend dining establishments to offer limited menus to provide optimal turnover. As far as planning an event, do what you are best at! This is not the time to try or test new products & offerings. Stick to your specialty, consider the extra expenses in your fiscal budget, & pre-plan for extra food deliveries and storage.

Also, can I partner with the City or Tourism to promote Carbondale as well as my business to travelers from St. Louis?

Individual businesses can register and promote their products, services and events on the regional www.southernillinoiseclipse.com website. To register for this free listing, call Carbondale Tourism at 618-529-4451.

As a business person, can I enter my information/events/etc. to the Carbondale Eclipse website?

The carbondaleeclipse.com website is not designed for the promotion of individual businesses or events. However, all businesses are welcome and encouraged to register their business, services, and events on a regional eclipse website, www.southernillinoiseclipse.com. To register, call Carbondale Tourism at 618-529-4451.

Will increased demands on cellular service affect the ability to take credit card payments if you use wireless?

We have been in direct communication with Verizon Wireless, the area’s largest cellular service provider, and their engineers assure us that the area’s cellular network can handle the anticipated demand and that payment processing systems will function as usual.

If business owners want to put the Carbondale Eclipse logo on promotional items, how do they do that? How do we get the logo for use?

Many area promotional products companies such as Attitude Designs and Silkworm have the logo which can be used with permission from Carbondale Tourism.

Can I make my own items or do I have to go to Silkworm and Attitude?

The official Carbondale Eclipse logo may be used with permission from Carbondale Tourism.

Will the City/Chamber of Commerce/Main Street be able to work with restaurants to help us rent a refrigerated truck? Restaurants barely have room to store food even for a busy weekend, especially with many small footprint downtown locations…

Carbondale Main Street (CMS) is working with downtown businesses and exploring possibilities for downtown restaurants to share a refrigerated trailer for storage purposes. The City has agreed to assist the restaurants find a location to place the trailer. More information is available from CMS at 618-529-8040.

Is there going to be an after party for the community after everyone has gone?

Currently, there are no plans for a community-wide event.

Is there a blog or a forum for business owners to see what others are doing?

The regional www.southernillinoiseclipse.com website contains listings of many of the special events and promotions that businesses across the region are planning.

Could businesses in downtown have their own meeting to work together to share ideas/cross-promote/get people to spend more money?

Businesses and other organizations are welcome to collaborate to enhance the eclipse experience. We encourage businesses to cross-promote and share ideas and marketing with each other.

Can businesses set up outside of their establishment?

If a business currently operating in the City of Carbondale desires to hold a temporary sidewalk sale or sidewalk café, they may be granted a temporary encroachment permit by the Carbondale City Manager. Businesses may apply for a temporary encroachment permit through the City of Carbondale’s Development Services Department, contact Travis Taylor at 618-457-3233 for more information.

Can we sell food with a food permit if we’re not already a restaurant/grocery/food vendor? Who should we contact for that?

If a vendor wishes to sell food and they are not an already established restaurant, grocery store, etc. in either the City of Carbondale or in Jackson County, then prospective vendors must apply for an annual or temporary food permit in Jackson County by submitting an application and appropriate fee to the Environmental Health Division at the Jackson County Health Department – (618) 684-3143. You are encouraged to contact the health department early to discuss your plans for any new food service establishment or temporary food event, since other requirements may also apply.

During the eclipse, what type of approval or permit is required to conduct sales outside of a standard brick-and-mortar business?

If the intent is to set up a tent within the Marketplace, and your vendor license has been approved, (download Marketplace Vendor License here: http://www.carbondaleeclipse.com/get-involved/), then no other license or application is required.

If you wish to conduct sales outside of the Marketplace, then please contact the Carbondale City Clerk’s office at 618-549-5302 ext. 280 to determine the proper permit for your particular need.

If I can let my employees work from home instead of out of my business location to avoid traffic and avoid adding to traffic, or to avoid safety and security concerns, should I?

The number of visitors that will be in town during that weekend and on the day of the eclipse is unknown, but could be in the tens of thousands. If your business can still function effectively by allowing employees to work from home during the eclipse, it may be wise to make those arrangements.

What does the City have in place to ensure that all businesses provide a great customer service experience? Is there a standard of service? A plan to “help” businesses with this?

Neither the City, the Chamber of Commerce, nor Carbondale Main Street can dictate how individual businesses conduct themselves. Obviously, it is in every business’ best interest to be welcoming, professional, and courteous during the eclipse celebration. The Chamber recommends businesses increase their level of staffing for the weekend and stress to employees the need for friendly and exceptional customer service. Please remember that we could be host to tens of thousands of visitors and NASA will be broadcasting to over 1 billion people through their podcast which will be set up at Saluki Stadium. The 2017 Eclipse is perhaps the best public relations opportunity Carbondale has ever had and is a tremendous opportunity to introduce the City, SIU, and the region to the world. Our hope is that everyone takes advantage of it and offers enthusiastic and professional service to everyone.

Do we have more information on how wristbands will be distributed/how the open consumption will work in the downtown?

The Carbondale City Council has passed an ordinance allowing for the legal public consumption of alcohol from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily, Friday, August 18th through Monday, August 21st, in an area bounded by Jackson Street to the North and Mill Street to the South and between Washington Street to the East and University Avenue to the West.

In order to help reduce underage drinking in the public consumption area, the City will supply all liquor license holders in the defined area with wristbands at no charge and on a voluntary basis. If an establishment chooses to participate, they will apply the wristbands to customers following verification that they are of legal drinking age. Establishments are free to check the ID’s of customers that have already been issued wristbands if they choose to.

Are wristbands to be used all weekend or replaced daily?

A wristband can be used for the entire weekend, however, should the wristband seem tampered with you will need a new tyvek wristband.

Establishments are free to check the ID’s of customers that have already been issued wristbands if they choose to.

Current visitors have mentioned that they cannot find lodging. Are there still options available for them?

Yes, options are available. Roughly all of the hotels in our area have 5 vacancies with the exception of Super 8 who is sold out. Carbondale Tourism checks the room availability on a bi-weekly basis to be well informed. In addition, lodging facilities contact their office in the event of cancellations. If you need help finding lodging call Carbondale Tourism at 618-529-4451.

What are hotels reporting currently for occupancy?

As of late June, Carbondale Hotels are at 95% capacity, with a few still reporting vacancies.

What are other housing options for visitors in the area?

Residents within Carbondale city limits have the option to register their homes as Vacation Rental Units and use a service like Airbnb to rent out rooms (see below). SIU is offering “indoor camping” at the Rec Center and Schneider Hall is accepting reservations as well. Regionally, there may still be hotel rooms available in nearby towns, and for those who love the outdoors, primitive camping sites are available in the Shawnee Forest. We do not have availability information for local Bed and Breakfast operators, cabin owners, or developed camping areas.

Will camping be allowed in town?

Camping is not allowed within Carbondale’s zoning districts unless the property is zoned Forestry or Agriculture. In that case, landowners can apply for a Special Use Permit for a “Campground” land use. Contact Travis Taylor in the Planning Department at 618-457-3233 for more information.

Can I rent out a room in my house or offer RV's a place to park?

You can utilize AirBnB, VRBO, & Hipcamp.com however, we advise checking your homeowner’s insurance and understand your liability coverage. You should also inform your local municipality for the purposes of emergency services and safety inspections. For RV’s you need to ensure proper sanitation and meet requirements of Jackson County Health Department.

What if I want to rent out my basement? A room in my house?

City Council passed an ordinance allowing homeowners to rent out all or a portion of their house on a temporary basis as a Vacation Rental Unit. The application is found here.

The application is to be filed with the City’s Development Services Department. All applications will be reviewed by City of Carbondale Planning Staff and properties will be inspected by the City of Carbondale Building Inspector. Owners of Vacation Rental Units must remit an annual $10 licensing fee and all hotel/motel taxes as required by the City of Carbondale.

What if I want to rent out parking on my property?

In districts zoned for business, a private business is allowed to rent out parking on a paved lot. In districts zoned residential, parking rules have not been changed. Parking in yards or other unpaved areas is not allowed.

With the large event being on campus, is there a good connection between downtown Carbondale and campus?

Shuttle Buses will operate between City Hall and the SIU campus. The schedule is under development.

Is SIU actively reaching out to local caterers and businesses for any of their events? How do local businesses connect with SIU events during the Eclipse?

Interested food and merchandise vendors can contact Kings Food Service of Herrin, IL. They are coordinating all external vendor needs at SIU events. (618) 988-1844.

For parking on campus, what is the cost to park? How many parking spaces will be available on campus?

Parking near the SIU Arena for events on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, August 18, 19 & 20, 2017 is free. Parking for events on Monday, August 21, 2017, the day of the eclipse is being sold in advance and costs either $20 for field lots or $35 for paved lots. Visit here or call (877) 725-8547 for details. There will be 4,400 spots available on campus for the public to purchase for events on Monday, August 21, 2017.

Usually this is move-in weekend, what has been done to mitigate this?

New students will move in on campus on Wednesday, August 16 and all Orientation Activities will conclude by Friday, August 18. All other students can move in on campus beginning Thursday, August 17. We are communicating with students and their families now so they know the details of all the activities.

Are classes being held on Monday on SIU’s campus?

The University is open for business on Monday, August 21, 2017 but classes have been cancelled. Most staff and faculty parking lots will be full as well as residence halls student lots.

Is there a fee for activities on campus (the carnival activities, for example)?

Some events are free and some have costs. Tickets are currently on sale for “Eclipse Day in Saluki Stadium”, Eclipse Comic Con and parking on Eclipse day. Details can be found on the website at http://eclipse.siu.edu/ or by calling (877) 725-8547.

Is there a fee for vendors on campus? At the Eclipse Marketplace? Is there going to be a vendor fair in the stadium on Monday?

There is an Art and Craft Fair on Sunday, August 20 and Monday, August 21, 2017. Interested vendors can register on line here or they can call (618) 536-7751. For all other events, interested food and merchandise vendors can contact Kings Food Service of Herrin, IL. They are coordinating all the external vendor needs at our events. (618) 988-1844.

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Will you have volunteers throughout the area? Has the City talked with local groups to help volunteer during the event(s)?

Diane Hood is coordinating volunteers for eclipse weekend, she can be reached at Volunteer@carbondaleeclipse.com. Many community organizations and individuals have indicated a willingness to help in many ways and our plan is to have our volunteers circulating throughout downtown, cleaning up the area and assisting our guests.

What type of volunteering opportunities are there?

  • Waste Management
  • Customer Service
  • Parking Attendants

How will volunteers be managed? Will there be training?

City staff will be utilized as group leaders for our volunteers and there will be two training meetings in July and August.

What are the shifts for volunteers?

Volunteers will serve for at least 4hr shifts and must have transportation to work locations. Shifts will be needed from morning until night.

Have a question not listed? Contact us and we will be happy to answer!