Jefferson City Conventions and Visitors Bureau gets more funding for eclipse

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JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City's Convention and Visitors Bureau received extra funding from the city on Monday to help with infrastructure expenses for the eclipse events happing in August.

The Jefferson City Council passed a motion at its July 3 meeting to help the bureau.

Diane Gillespie, Executive Director of the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau, asked the council for their financial support after a short presentation on the events surrounding the eclipse, which happens August 21.

“Today what was authorized is really an agreement where the city can work with the Convention of Visitors Bureau to see what some of those needs are to help support the event,” said Carrie Tergin the Mayor of Jefferson City.

“We’re looking at some parking assistance, some shuttle expenses, port-a-potties, signage, that type of thing,” said Gillespie.

The eclipse is expected to bring in thousands of visitors from across the country to Mid-Missouri, which sits right on the path affording the best views.

“We are told that our population could double, so and then we’ve also heard any where from 10 to 50 thousand people," said Gillespie. "So we are looking at it as another July 4 event, and with that event there is anywhere from 50 to 75 thousand people that come through that time period, so that’s kind of how we’re basing this event on."

The city’s support of the event can also be compared to that of the Independence Day celebrations.

“Much like the city supports Salute to America the July 4th festivities, we contribute every year to that event, so this would be very similar because we imagine it would be on the same scale, but we really can’t imagine because it’s a once in a life time it’s never happened," said Tergin. "We’ve never had a total eclipse during our lifetime here in Jefferson City, so we are just gauging that the Salute to America festival as kind of something similar where we prepare for thousands of people to come in."

NASA will be directly involved with some of the city's events on August 21. The organization chose Jefferson City to be one of seven cities to host a live broadcast of the eclipse. NASA is also sending two astronauts and a traveling exhibit to the city.

"We’re looking at putting together a breakfast with the astronauts," said Gillespie. "We are talking to them about possibly being able to do an additional Q & A session...on probably Sunday; Monday, the focus will be the actual eclipse taking place."

"The event is going to be amazing and so as a city we realized we also want to contribute and we need to to be supportive of something that is going to bring thousands of people to our community," said Tergin.

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