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Grand Island was ready for eclipse

Wed, Apr 10th 2024 08:30 pm

By Karen Carr Keefe

Senior Contributing Writer

Grand Island’s close encounter with a total solar eclipse went very smoothly regarding traffic and safety, according to Town Supervisor Peter Marston and Highway Superintendent Dick Crawford.

“I was in contact with our police department pretty regularly – and no issues – I mean nothing,” Marston said of the anticipated traffic jams on the Island.

“We had about 20 cars down at Veterans Park. We thought that could be really a gathering spot. We were concerned, being that the ground was soft, people were going to get in the grass,” he said.

“I’ve had zero issues from the West River people. I heard Beaver Island had some people there. It wasn’t like a mob scene. It wasn’t like out of a movie. People that were there enjoyed it, and it was good,” he said.

“So, a sunny day, it would have been a different show. I think we know that,” the supervisor said. “I think, as far as serving our people, it was great. … The police department actually sent half their staff – they had extra staff in – they sent them home at 5 o’clock. We were ready.”

“Dick had his guys on call,” Marston said of Crawford. “We had all the town vehicles here, ready to go. Even if I had to get in one and go help move traffic around, we could do that. It just never transpired.”

Crawford said, “Just like any event where you think there could be some odd things happening, he (Marston) called a meeting, we met with the police department, and we had a backup plan, if, in fact, that were the case.”

“We had guys ready to go in parks, highway,” Marston said. “We had extra police ready to go – we were in touch with the parks police, the troopers were here – they rolled in seven or eight cars at noon on Monday. They were stationed on the Island on the thruway. I’d rather be overprepared than under.”

With the cloud cover, he said, “It wasn’t as intense as it could have been, but it was certainly visible. I actually thought it was really cool,” Marston said of the eclipse, itself. “I watched it from my backyard, didn’t go anywhere. Then we went to out eat spaghetti. It was a great day.”

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