McMinn County Sheriff on Eclipse: It’s a Huge Deal
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Eclipse 2017 is almost here, and areas across the region are getting ready for what could be a very busy day.
“I think it’s a huge deal for the region. I think between the hotel motel taxes, tourism dollars, things like that. I think it has the potential to really boost the economy here for a couple of days,” says McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy.
McMinn County sits in the 70 mile wide swath of totality as the solar eclipse passes from coast to coast on August 21st.
Sheriff Guy continues, “The Star Mountain area is also a prime viewing area. Central High School is a NASA designated location to view and I think we’ve got some students coming down from different states.”
Sheriff Guy is getting ready for visitors.
“We’re just calling in everybody to have plenty of personnel out on patrol,” the Sheriff says. “We’re just going to spread our resources throughout the county and respond wherever we’re sorta needed to.”
For those coming to the area, the Sheriff asks you pack your patience.
“Patience is probably the biggest thing. There might – there’s a good chance we might be seeing a lot of congestion, again people pulling over on the side of the road,” he says. “The interstate concerns us a little bit and concerns the highway patrol a little bit. Our major highways concern us a little bit.”
The Tennessee Highway Patrol reminds motorists that you can not stop on the interstate to watch the eclipse.
“The number one thing is safety. The Tennessee Highway Patrol recommends that if you’re going to be looking at the eclipse, you need to be parked in a safe location, not driving a vehicle down a road,” says Lt. John Harmon with the Tennessee Highway Patrol. “They’re not allowed to stop on the interstate system – period.”
Sheriff Guy is looking forward to the eclipse that will pass through the backyards of McMinn County residents.
“It’s something I think everyone is looking forward to, just witnessing, because these things don’t happen that often,” says the Sheriff.