Eclipse period smooth for cityAug 25, 2017 By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer
Post-eclipse reports suggest the City of Riverton provided tourists with a positive experience during the long-awaited day.
The city began planning and collaborating efforts in November in order to be organized ahead of the anticipated crowd of about 10,000 people.
Rough estimates by interim city administrator Courtney Bohlender suggest that only about 3,000 people visited Riverton.
"This number is based on 650 motel/hotel rooms being filled, camping locations at the fairgrounds and Rendezvous sites of 400 (or more) and ... three members per property rental, whether a room or camp site," she said.
A debrief meeting with city employees and elected officials will take place at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall to hear further reports from department heads.
Bohlender said the city had 127 employees work in some capacity from Saturday through Monday leading up to the eclipse. City offices were closed 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday.
"Most employees will have worked 12 days straight by the end of this week," Bohlender said Wednesday.
She will report later on the total number of hours worked and eclipse expenses made by the city.
Over the eclipse weekend the city manned three information centers and sponsored the Dark in the Park event at City Park. Employees did daily sanitation pick-up at parks and other locations and organized hourly shuttle services, and the Riverton Police Department did mounted and bike patrols.
"Many properties, both public and private, participated in beautification efforts by cutting weeds and picking up debris, dumpsters were painted, street striping and curb painting completed, potholes fixed, medians on Main Street were spruced up, trees trimmed, temporary RV dump stations installed, etc.," Bohlender listed. "Our employees worked tirelessly and without complaint to get every possible task completed...They are to be highly commended for their commitment to our community."
There was no spike in calls for service over the weekend, or on eclipse day, RPD chief Eric Murphy said.
"If anything they were down from the norm," he said. "From the (RPD) standpoint we could not have been happier."
Murphy said tourists often approached officers and asked to take pictures and thank them; the department was "very impressed" with the cooperation from tourists and other city employees.
Murphy said about 10-15 people approached the RPD first aid station for information on Friday and Saturday, but it got busier on Sunday and Monday.
He reported that no one visited the tent for first aid.
City information technology network administrator Tim Hugus manned one of the city's information centers over the weekend. He said most people were looking for information on camping or viewing locations, followed by local activities, resources and then directions.
Hugus noted that IT technician Alex Engelhart was able to use his fluency in Japanese to help a man from Japan who was experiencing car trouble.
"Alex was able to call the car rental folk to work through that, as well as help change the man's travel plans since he would not be able to make his flight out of Denver the next day," Hugus said.
Finance director Mia Harris said visitors commented on how well the city looked and the friendly hospitality they received.
"When we arrived back to work after the eclipse, we received a donation from a visitor from Utah," Harris said."She said her experience was so wonderful that she wanted to give back."
City clerk and human resources director Kristin Watson echoed Bohlender's comments, saying each city employee assisted in some way and helped offer a memorable experience in Riverton.
"We met people from all over the U.S. and the world:Italy, France, Poland, Germany, Japan, Australia, Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle, Texas, Arkansas, Florida, Colorado, etc.," she said."Of all the places they could have chosen to view the eclipse, they chose Riverton."