Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

City of Oberlin Prepares for Influx of Visitors During Eclipse

Abe Frato
Oberlin will be in the path of totality during the total solar eclipse April 8, drawing many visitors to the City.

The City of Oberlin has been making preparations to meet the anticipated influx of people and large gatherings for the total solar eclipse that will take place Monday, April 8. 

Oberlin Fire Chief Robert Hanmer estimated that 10–15,000 people would come from out of town to view the eclipse.

The College will be hosting OCLIPSE, a two-hour viewing party on Bailey Field, where organizers will provide eclipse-viewing glasses, host musical performances, offer snacks, and host a screen printing class. Observatory and Planetarium Coordinator Dave Lengyel will be narrating the eclipse for participants. 

Oberlin City Schools will be providing students and staff with eclipse-viewing glasses. All schools will be closed for the day.

Given the expected increase in the number of people in Oberlin, the City of Oberlin has posted an advisory on its website to help residents and visitors. 

The City advises residents to fill up their cars with gasoline prior to the weekend of April 6–7, to stock up on food and drink prior to the eclipse, to avoid scheduling appointments on the day of the eclipse, and to avoid travel on the weekend and on Monday.

The City has similarly reminded visitors that overnight parking, RV parking, and camping are not allowed in City parks or at the Oberlin Recreation Complex. They’ve also told visitors not to park on the grass. 

Access to City facilities will be closed Monday, with only the Police Department and Fire Department open to the public. City services will continue, and residents can continue to use the City’s website, phone, and email. 

According to Hanmer, the City and Fire Department are taking precautions to ensure safety in line with plans throughout the county. 

The Oberlin Fire Department and the Central Lorain County Fire Department will have extra staffing on the weekend and Monday to deal with any emergencies that might occur. 

One concern that the Fire Department has is that people camping out before the eclipse might get hypothermia from the cold weather. To combat this, they have stocked up on heat packs, blankets, and warming shelters. Another concern is the possibility of drug overdoses from people using illicit drugs through the weekend, which has caused the Department to stock up on Narcan for emergencies. 

At the larger College event, the Fire Department has required the setting up of a medical tent and will have first responders monitoring the crowd.

“We’ve had weekly regular meetings with all the stakeholders, [and] with the College staff,” said Hanmer. “We get what their plans are, how they’re gonna stamp it, [and] what their organization structure looks like. So we tie that all together into our emergency operating plans.” 

The Fire Department will also be monitoring bed counts in nearby hospitals due to concerns that they might fill up. The bed count is shared through the Ohio State Emergency Operating Center for all of the hospitals in the state so the Department can keep track of which hospitals they can take patients to. 

The Fire Department has also been issuing public service announcements to remind people not to look at the sun without proper eye protection due to the permanent damage that can be caused. People may take off their glasses during totality but should wear them before and afterward. 

According to Public Works Director Jeff Baumann, who wrote to the Review via email, some restrictions on traffic and parking will be in place. Woodland Street will be closed where it meets Lorain Street, and Union Street will be closed at Professor Street. The closures will begin at 3 a.m., and access will be restricted to emergency vehicles. Temporary parking prohibitions on South Professor Street and Lincoln Street will be put in place over the weekend. Parking will also be prohibited on Union Street between Main Street and Professor Street.

“[The Oberlin Police Department] will be monitoring that area as well as other areas of concern and will initiate closures or redirect traffic as necessary,” Baumann wrote to the Review. “Public Works will assist as required.” 

Additionally, Baumann said that the College will be closing the parking lot at North Fields.

More to Discover