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Venue sought for Schuyler Visitor Center

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce continues its VISION 2020 strategic plan to find the perfect venue for its new visitor center for Schuyler County.The Chamber has embarked on a mission to create a much-needed, practical, yet welcoming, educational, and exciting visitor center for Schuyler County. Housing millions of tourists to our community each year, Watkins Glen is known as a key vacation destination in the Finger Lakes.The Chamber plans to create a state-of-the-art County-wide visitor center as a critical component to the number one growing industry in Schuyler County and the Finger Lakes Region – tourism. The visitor center will be developed in response to demand for upgraded quality and scope of services for the millions of national and international tourists that visit the region annually. The new visitor center will play a key role in the continued revitalization of the Village of Watkins Glen’s Franklin Street and the designated Empire Zone. The visitor center will house interactive kiosks, historical and educational exhibits, interactive displays, 24-hour visitor services, potential tenants, commercial and retail opportunities and more.The Chamber has ended negotiations with one landowner this week, but continues to seek viable venues for the visitor center. “We are moving the Chamber forward as a vital asset to our businesses and community,” said Tom Phillips, Superintendent of Watkins Glen Central Schools and Chairperson, Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. “We as members of the Board are united behind this effort to secure funding for the development of the new visitor center. We can and must support the move to the future while ensuring our current viability. This is in fact the number ONE priority of the Board and that we are moving forward with all due diligence.”“Upon completion of our new visitor center and chamber building, it will not just be a building in the eyes of the County and State,” Crystal M. Ricks, IOM, President/CEO, Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce said. “This is going to be a building that’s doing some of the County and State’s work for it, welcoming the visitors and fielding calls and web hits to the various businesses within and around Schuyler County.”The Chamber hopes to construct an eye-catching building that will incorporate the look and feel of the area, boasting large window views that overlook the beautiful area, while attracting the visitors to stop. The chamber has preliminary building plans for a two-level structure.“Millions of visitors tour our area each year,” according to Ricks. “Many are from other countries. As the tourism promotion agency (TPA) for the County, the Chamber takes the tourism and marketing plans for the county very seriously through an extensive tourism and marketing strategic program, attracting travel writers and media on a daily basis boasting positive public relations for the entire region.”“First impressions are extremely important,” said Ricks. “Many times the visitor’s first opportunity to understand more about what Schuyler County has to offer is from the visitor center. The inadequate facilities now do not make a good impression of what we represent, which is a world-class destination.”“The Visitor Center will be the anchor for the future of the County and will be a real asset to all our members in informing visitors, members and the community of the services here as well as information about our area,” Phillips said about the Center. “This Visitor Center is long overdue. The current facility is less than adequate for the world-class destination we are. We look forward to the County and membership’s full support as we move forward.”The Chamber recently updated its brand and logo to an innovative, eye-catching image to attract even more tourists to the area. The chamber’s new website is: watkinsglenchamber.com and will be launched with the new colors, new member benefits with enhanced listings and more very soon.The Chamber is currently seeking partners and funding for the new visitor center. If you would like to view our strategic plan, become a partner, donate funding to our project or want more information on the chamber, please contact Crystal M. Ricks, IOM at 607-535-4300 or e-mail us at crystal@watkinsglenchamber.com.

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