BEATRICE – A support organization for the Homestead National Monument of America has been granted $10,000 to help aid transportation services around the full solar eclipse, next August.
Half of the money to the Friends of the Homestead will come from Beatrice lodging tax revenue, while the other half will come from a public event budget of the city.
Officials are planning for what they feel will be thousands of visitors, August 19th through the 21st, to view the full solar eclipse on the 21st.
Homestead National Monument Superintendent Mark Engler says each of the three days, buses will be operated around the monument and in the community.
:45 “hours of operation”
Beatrice is in the path of the longest period of the total solar eclipse, on August 21st.
Engler says the monument will commit staff to assisting with the transportation system and Homestead hours would be extended to 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., that Saturday and Sunday. On the day of the eclipse, the monument would open at 6 a.m.
Beatrice City Councilman Ted Fairbanks suggested putting in place a small charge to ride a shuttle. Council President David “Pede” Catlin said keeping it free, might reduce congestion.
:16 “a courtesy thing”
The city council approved an amendment by Councilman Fairbanks to allocate half of the transportation funding from city lodging tax money, rather than the Beatrice Plus fund. Beatrice Plus is funded by voluntary contributions on ratepayer utility bills.
Elected officials did approve two Beatrice Plus grants, Monday night. One totals $2,250 to Main Street Beatrice for downtown trash receptacles and a bench. The other is $400 to assist Community Possibilities with this summer’s Beatrice Third Thursday event schedule, in the downtown area.