NewsSolar Eclipse 2024


Killeen hosts two town halls to help businesses prepare for 2024 total solar eclipse

Posted: 5:43 PM, Mar 01, 2023
Updated: 2023-03-01 19:17:27-05

KILLEEN, Texas — Killeen is expected to be one of the best viewing spots in the country for the 2024 total solar eclipse. The city is right in the path of totality and will provide viewers four minutes and 17 seconds of darkness.

"It's a huge economic impact we're planning for," Visit Killeen Director Matt Irvine told 25 News.

"I think that's part of the trouble that people don't realize how big of a deal it is. They hear us talking about this thing that's four minutes a year from now, what's the big deal? But it's a huge deal and it's going to bring a lot of money into Killeen and the surrounding areas."

"This is a major event that is going to happen here," Astronomer Warren Hart said during a town hall for local businesses.

"As of this year right now, we are 518 years from the previous total solar eclipse that came across here."

Killeen started preparing for this back in 2018. They've spent the last few years reaching out to cities who were along the path of the 2017 eclipse to learn what to expect.

"Restaurants were full all day leading up to the events," Irvine said. "The day of the event a lot of people wanted to get to their spot and stay. A lot of farmers rented their farmland and a lot of those farmers charged to rent their farmland for camping. The parks were full, there was a mass exodus after the event. This was a rural area, but a five-hour drive took 18 hours that day."

Hotels and short-term rentals are expected to completely fill up the days leading up to the eclipse. The city is recommending a three-night minimum to encourage people to stay longer and limit the traffic on the roads.

It's suggested restaurant owners accept reservations or sell tickets in advance so they know how many people to expect. Local shops are recommended to sell eclipse-based merchandise and have eclipse-safe sunglasses on hand.

Business owners are also asked to consider renting out their parking lots for RVs and campers.

"Killeen is a great place to come," Irvine said. "We've got wide open spaces, really friendly people, and some of the best restaurants you could imagine right here in Killeen."