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For Immediate Release: 04/16/18
Contact: Office of Media Relations and Communications | (518) 471-5300 | public.info@thruway.ny.gov

THRUWAY AUTHORITY ANNOUNCES CAPITAL REGION WELCOME CENTER TO BE BUILT ALONG NYS THRUWAY

Regional Welcome Center Will Promote Local Tourism, History, Food and Beverages

Welcome Center Expected to Open in Fall 2018

The New York State Thruway Authority today announced the Capital Region Welcome Center will be built along the New York State Thruway (I-87) in New Baltimore, Greene County. The state-of-the-art Welcome Center, one of 11 throughout the state, continues the Governor's commitment to growing regional economies and promoting local attractions, food and craft beverages, and other destinations across the Empire State. The Capital Region Welcome Center is expected to open in Fall 2018.

“From the State Capitol to the foothills of the Adirondacks, the Capital Region is rich in culture and beauty and offers travelers world-class attractions and the finest home-grown products around,” Thruway Authority Acting Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said, “The New York State Thruway is a vital connector to destinations and attractions across New York State and beyond and this Welcome Center will serve as a gateway for visitors who want to experience everything our state has to offer. With Governor Cuomo’s support, the State’s Welcome Centers are helping to drive economic growth and promote all the things that make this region and New York State great.”

Continuing the positive momentum of increased tourism across the state, the Capital Region Welcome Center will include regionally-specific elements linked to the history and natural beauty of the Hudson River Valley, which includes such attractions as the New York State Capitol, the historic Saratoga Race Course, and the Lake George region. The Welcome Center will include a Taste NY Market showcasing locally grown and sourced products from across the Capital Region. Renderings of the center can be found here.

The Welcome Center in the Capital Region is building upon the success of Welcome Centers across the state. Five of the 11 have been built so far including New York City, Long Island, Southern Tier, Central NY and Mohawk Valley. Funding for regional Welcome Centers was included in the FY 2018 State Budget.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “New York State’s tourism industry continues to thrive, generating billions in spending and supporting more than 900,000 jobs statewide. The Capital Region Welcome Center will encourage even more visitors to experience the region’s rich heritage and world-class destinations.”

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The regional welcome centers are helping us capture the Governor’s vision to more closely connect consumers with the very best of New York’s food and beverage products that celebrate our region’s diverse agricultural strengths. Now, we are excited to add the Capital Region Welcome Center to the growing list of Taste NY locations that will allow us to shine a spotlight on the area’s tremendous growers, producers and artisan food makers, introducing them to new markets and boosting the economy.”

The Capital Region Welcome Center will be located across from the Thruway Authority’s New Baltimore Service Area between exit 21B, Coxsackie – Route 9W, and exit 21A, Berkshire Section/to Mass Pike, where approximately three million people visit annually.  Since the New Baltimore Service Area was first built, traffic volumes have more than tripled.  It last underwent major construction in 1992.

At approximately 11,000 square feet, the new Capital Region Welcome Center, will feature exterior architecture rooted in the historical Dutch traditions of the area. To promote other New York specific attractions, multiple I LOVE NEW YORK interactive kiosks will showcase locally based attractions and tourism destinations in the region. A video wall will also showcase all the beautiful Capital Region attractions. Additionally, the location will feature an outdoor, park-like environment, including, a farmers’ market featuring local products and a children’s playground. The proposed facility has received approval from the Federal Highway Administration to allow over-the-counter sales. 

The Welcome Center will be accessible to Thruway traffic traveling northbound on I-87 taking the New Baltimore Service Area exit ramp. Northbound traffic will continue to have access to fuel and amenities provided by the existing New Baltimore Service Area on the other side of the highway. 

Greene County Legislative Chair Kevin Lewis said, “Greene County would like to thank Governor Cuomo and the Thruway Authority for picking the New Baltimore Service Area for a new Taste NY welcome center. Our local farms and crafters will have a great venue to display and sell their wares. We look forward to welcoming travelers to Greene County and being the gateway to the capital region.”

Town of New Baltimore Supervisor Jeff Russo said, "The Capital Region is a cornerstone in the foundation of our state and country.  This visitor's center will display our region's long held pride in that role. The Town of New Baltimore is proud to be chosen as the site of the Capital Region Welcome Center."

Since taking office in 2011, Governor Cuomo has made unprecedented investments in the tourism industry throughout New York State, leading to historic levels of visitors and direct spending. In 2016, New York welcomed a record 239 million visitors who spent nearly $65 billion, generating a total economic impact of more than $100 billion for the third straight year. Tourism remains the state's fourth largest employer, supporting more than 914,000 jobs annually.

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