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For Immediate Release: 06/30/2020 
Contact: Office of Media Relations and Communications | (518) 471-5300 | public.info@thruway.ny.gov

THRUWAY AUTHORITY ANNOUNCES GRAND OPENING OF EXPANDED PET COMFORT AREA AT WESTERN NEW YORK WELCOME CENTER
 Project Part of Collaborative Effort Between the Town of Grand Island and Thruway Authority

Allows for Separation of Large and Smaller Sized Pets and Additional Space at the Year-Round Facility

Project Materials Provided by Town of Grand Island at No Cost to Thruway Authority

The New York State Thruway Authority today announced the grand opening of the expanded pet comfort area at the Western New York Welcome Center in Grand Island. This collaborative effort between the Town of Grand Island and the Thruway Authority nearly doubled the size of the dog park.

Town of Grand Island and Thruway Authority officials, including Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll, cut the ribbon on the expanded dog park Tuesday.

“The Western New York Welcome Center is a comfortable, welcoming setting for travelers and residents of all ages and no detail has been overlooked, including amenities for our four-legged friends,” Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said. “Our partnership with the Town of Grand Island has allowed us to provide a safe and friendly location for pet owners and their pets to stretch and enjoy some fresh air while traveling.”

Town of Grand Island Town Supervisor John Whitney said, "I would like to thank Governor Cuomo, Executive Director Matthew Driscoll and Division Director Matt Latko for their assistance in making this dog park expansion project a reality. It's a great facility overall that not only serves the many travelers across this great state, but the people of Grand Island as well. We are happy and proud to be a part of this tremendous project."
The nearly 5,600 square foot expansion project included the installation of new chain-link fencing, gated entrance, and separation gates. The expansion project mirrors the original dog park area and included two park benches, landscape boulders, a fire hydrant and a dog waste station.

The Town of Grand Island purchased and provided all materials related to the new park, while the Thruway Authority was responsible for all construction and installation aspects of the new design. The majority of the work took place in fall 2019 and was completed by Thruway Authority Facility, Division Support and Niagara Maintenance Section employees.

Grand Island Chamber of Commerce President Eric Fiebelkorn said, "The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce is excited to see the beautiful expansion of the dog park area at the WNY Welcome Center. This collaboration between the NYS Thruway Authority and the Town of Grand Island will benefit both local residents and visitors alike for many years to come. Yet another reason that our town, the Heart of the Niagara, is a grand place to live, work and play."

About the Western New York Welcome Center

The Western New York Welcome Center is inspired by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright and represents the gateway to the world-class destinations and historic sites located in the Western New York region.

The WNY Welcome Center is located in the Town of Grand Island and between the cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, and is accessible from the Niagara Thruway (I-190) exit 19 (Whitehaven Road) via Alvin Road, where approximately 23.7 million motorists travel past this location each year.

Open 24 hours a day, the Welcome Center features a community room, I LOVE NY "selfie wall," historic artifacts display, a floor map of regional attractions, and café style seating with tables that will provide an enhanced visitor experience. Other features include:

  • Taste NY Market and café showcasing a broad selection of fresh made items
  • Grab-and-go snacks, craft beverages and specialty local items for sale by local producers
  • Great Lakes shipwreck theme playground
  • I LOVE NY sculpture
  • Electric vehicle charging stations
  • Motorcycle shelter
  • Pet comfort area
  • Parking spaces for cars, buses/RVs, and trucks.

The Taste NY Market is open seven days a week 9 a.m. 6 p.m. and Memorial Day Weekend - Labor Day Weekend 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.

The Western New York Welcome Center officially opened in August 2018.

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The Thruway is scheduled to convert to an entirely cashless tolling system by the end of 2020. For more information and project updates, go to thruway.ny.gov/cashless.

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