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PNS Weekend Newscast - September 23rd, 2017 


Here's a look at what we're covering: Senator John McCain says no to the GOP's health care plan, a new survey takes a look at how residents in one state feel about the effort to real Obamacare, and International Day of Peace is being celebrated this weekend.

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Columbia Tallies Total Eclipse Economic Impact

Cosmopolitan Park in Columbia was the location of choice for 10,000 people viewing Monday's solar eclipse. (Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau)
Cosmopolitan Park in Columbia was the location of choice for 10,000 people viewing Monday's solar eclipse. (Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau)
August 23, 2017

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The city of Columbia is busy with post-eclipse calculations - not the astronomy, but the economic impact of this week's festivities on the area.

Events linked to Monday's solar eclipse filled every hotel room in town on Sunday night and up to 70 percent of the lodging on Monday night. Other local businesses and vendors also reported an uptick in customers. Megan McConachie, strategic communications manager of the Columbia Convention and Visitor's Bureau, said the size of the crowd that gathered at Cosmopolitan Park was evidence of that.

"We're estimating around 10,000 people," she said. "There were folks spread out and set up all over the park. So, that's a lot of ground to cover, but we completely filled our parking lots and we had lots of full shuttles come in."

She said they hope to release the economic-impact totals by the end of the week and to use what they've learned for everything from future big events to emergency planning. The celestial event was a welcome gift for the Missouri city nearest the center of the eclipse path of totality, and the clouds held off for optimum viewing.

The darkness over Columbia lasted just over two-and-a-half minutes, but planning for it began 15 months ago. McConachie said 150 volunteers were assigned to jobs such as giving directions and facilitating parking. A multitude of organizations also took part from government and private sectors. That meant a lot of coordination and planning meetings "with police, with fire, with water and light, with all sorts of different departments," she said. "There are very few city departments that remained uncontacted by me during this whole process."

Traffic was reported to be worst as people left the mid-Missouri area after the eclipse, but there were no major problems.

So, what do you do after you've helped coordinate a once-in-a-lifetime event? McConachie said you have a beer, take a nap, then add up the benefits your city reaped.

Kevin Patrick Allen, Public News Service - MO