Bennington Welcome Center opens to the traveling public on Friday

first_imgGovernor Peter Shumlin and Michael Obuchowski, Commissioner of the Department of Buildings and General Services, has announced today that the long awaited Bennington Welcome Center will be opening its doors to travelers at 7 am on Friday, October 11. This project, part of the Bennington Bypass system, has been under construction for the past five years, but in the making for 20 years or more with the support of three administrations.   ‘This new welcome center creates a beautiful gateway into Vermont through Bennington County, providing Vermonters and out of state visitors alike with the services and information they need to enjoy the region and the state as a whole,’ Gov. Shumlin said. ‘Led by a dedicated group of Bennington lawmakers, officials and others, we have been working on a Bennington Welcome Center for years. Friday’s opening is an important economic step for southwestern Vermont.’  Commissioner Obuchowski agreed, adding, ‘We couldn’t be more delighted that this project is close to completion and that soon we will be turning the keys of the building over to Joann Erenhouse and her able staff at the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce.  The Chamber will be operating this building on behalf of the State at a savings to taxpayers.’   An official ribbon cutting ceremony will take place later in November. ‘Tourism is so important to the entire State, and we at the Chamber are honored we will be the ambassadors to so many visitors entering Vermont on vacation or on business from points south,’ said Joann Erenhouse, Executive Director of the Bennington Area Chamber. ‘I promise to work tirelessly to ensure that visitors who stop at this vital gateway welcome center receive the signature hospitality they are used to receiving at the other 16 State visitor centers.’  A group of of past and present members from the Bennington delegation, including local officials, toured the facility Monday as last minute construction projects were being completed.  Former Rep. Tim Corcoran, currently the Town Clerk in Bennington, expressed his delight that the Center was finally opening.  ‘It’s been a long time coming and I am sure it will be a critical asset to our region and the State as a whole,’ said Corcoran.  Rep. Timothy Corcoran, Jr. echoed his father’s comments and spoke to the importance that this project would have enhancing Vermont’s image to visitors and to the financial engine that tourism is to the State.  Rep. Bill Botzow, who serves on the House Commerce Committee, remarked that the Center and the bypass would be critical assets supporting the State’s efforts to enhance economic development for the region and the state at large.   Former Rep. Dick Pembroke, a long term supporter of the project, couldn’t have been more pleased touring the site and seeing his vision of the past 20 years come to fruition. ‘It’s beautiful,’ he said. Sen. Dick Sears and Sen. Bob Hartwell, both strong advocates for the project expressed their enthusiasm that the Welcome Center would soon be opening and begin contributing to the important tourism economy by fulfilling its important mission to the State’s visitors.   Brenda Jones, President of the Bennington Area Chamber, summed up the tour by saying the Bennington Chamber is proud to have this opportunity adding, ‘It is time now to roll up our sleeves and get the job done promoting and showcasing our businesses, attractions and communities across the State from East to West and North to South.’last_img