Thursday, December 01, 2011

New Visitor Center Debuts Friday

When Ken Ulman flicks the switch and lights the Christmas tree to kick off Midnight Madness this Friday, he’ll also be cutting the ribbon to open the new Howard County Visitor Center.
It’s a major upgrade from the former visitor center which was housed in the basement of the old post office building on Main Street. Three years ago, the county purchased the building after the post office relocated to its new facility just up the hill on Ellicott Center Drive. This past summer the county began transforming the main floor into a new and expanded visitor center, helped along by a $175,000 state bond.

It’s nice repurpose for the 1940's era stone building. The renovation even pays homage to the buildings past.

I once dismissed the notion of HoCo Tourism. How significant could tourism in HoCo be I wondered?

Pretty darn significant it turns out. In 2010, tourism in the county generated more than $13 million in local tax receipts. HoCo Tourism, headed by Rachelina Bonacci, is hoping to build on that by convincing more day visitors to spend the night or two.

A new visitor center should help facilitate that effort. 
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