Monday, December 19, 2016

Enlarged Northway Adirondack Welcome Center Planned

Northway Rest Area Adirondack Welcome Center DOT IllustrationThe state intends to break ground this spring for an enlarged Adirondack Welcome Center along the northbound lanes of Northway (I-87) just south of Glens Falls. The work will add to an existing rest area just south of Exit 18 near Big Boom Road and Hudson River Park. People driving north reach the rest area just after crossing the Hudson River into Warren County.

The expanded center is expected to have kiosks, photographs of the Adirondack Park, an electric-vehicle charging station, a market selling local food and beverages, and a boat-wash station for removing invasive species. It is scheduled for completion late this year or in early 2018.

“We get one chance to make a first impression,” said State Senator Betty Little, who represents most of the Park. “I look forward to seeing the proposed design and sharing my ideas for how we can make this into something much more than a quick break from driving on the Northway and into something that excites people visiting the Adirondacks.”

Plans for upgrading the rest area have been discussed for several years, Little said. Two years ago, she secured $1 million in state funding to refurbish the existing facility because the state Department of Transportation then preferred a smaller, less costly project. The price tag for the welcome center has not been determined.

“I’m pleased that the governor and the DOT have decided to pursue a larger project,” Little said. “I have been very supportive of all efforts to promote the region because more visitors means more revenue and more job opportunities.”

In addition, Little said the state plans to raze an old restroom building at the Schroon Lake rest area father north, which has been closed for years. “It’s become an eyesore,” she said. “But with a little work, it can be converted into a texting stop and an ideal place for truckers to rest.”

Photo of existing facility provided by DOT.

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Paul Post is a freelance writer and an award-winning newspaper reporter for The Saratogian in Saratoga Springs. He writes regularly about Adirondack issues.

A Glens Falls resident, he is well on his way to becoming an Adirondack Forty-Sixer and already is a member of Catskill 3500 Club. He is the author of three books—two sports biographies and one on Saratoga County military history.

6 Responses

  1. Andrew says:

    The Welcome Center needs a better information center. The vast majority of the materials available at the welcome center are for paid tourist attractions. Many of the card slots are filled again and again with the same pieces. What’s missing are materials like the ones from ROOST or the DEC, which contain real information about the many sites, attractions and seasonal outdoor opportunities to engage with all the area has to offer. A good model is the tourist info center in Wilmington.

  2. John says:

    I’m not in agreement with these priorities. From my measurements, the distance from the Glens Falls bathroom to the High Peaks bathroom is 56 miles. From the High Peaks rest area to Chazy/Beekmantown area is 62 miles. (I don’t think there’s another bathroom in between that section.) That seems awfully far. I don’t know the average distance between rest areas on the Thruway. Replacing the Glens Falls rest area sacrifices the practical needs of the traveling public for a high-profile tourist facility.

    Also, as someone who lives within the park, Glens Falls can be considered a gateway, but the distance that facility sits, south of the city, doesn’t give the traveler a sense of entering the park. Rather, a welcome center should be physically closer to the mountains, lakes, forests, and the tangible sense of “park.”

  3. David says:

    I don’t understand why they cannot figure a way to open up both the north and southbound rest stops near Schroon Lake and North Hudson. The southbound one had great views. Both have been allowed to fall into disrepair. Nothing says “we can’t get our act together” more than closed rest stops to people who drive but them.

    • terry says:

      Because they opened big new ones within a few miles of each, most likely with improved septics.
      maybe they should turn the old southbound rest area with the views into a scenic overlook.

    • Boreas says:

      Apparently the planners do not have BPH like many of us aging Boomers…

      One must keep in mind part of the reason for shutting down older ones in the ‘wilder’ areas is the ability to keep them clean and safe. One must keep in mind they either need to be constantly manned or at least cleaned every few hours. This is a large part of the expense – especially if the cleaners need to travel far between areas. This is part of the reason for consolidating them near larger population centers.

      It would be interesting to replace some of the old, small “eyesores” into small, solar powered, composting, green rest areas and dog walks and educational kiosks. At least give the impression of a smaller footprint on the Park instead of the energy-sucking Great Camp/Disney approach.

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