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New welcome center expected in Myersville soon

May 04, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

MYERSVILLE, Md. -- The state expects to open a new welcome center and rest stop near Myersville in about a month, State Highway Administration spokesman Charlie Gischlar said Monday.

The old center closed about two years ago.

Gischlar said it closed because of wastewater treatment problems and because it was outdated.

It will cost about $18.4 million for the welcome center and rest area, and about $3.5 million for a wastewater treatment center, Gischlar said.

Kinsley Construction of Timonium, Md., is doing the work.

Plans for the project go back a few years, before the economy slumped, Gischlar said.

A year ago, the new center was expected to open by April 2010. However, bad weather and delays in getting permits slowed the project, he said.

The state Department of Business & Economic Development (DBED) will staff the welcome center.

Hannah Lee Byron, an assistant secretary for tourism, film and the arts for DBED, said there will be one full-time employee and possibly one part-timer.

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She wasn't sure how many days it would be open, but noted that state welcome centers are no longer open more than four days a week.

Last year, the state closed the Sideling Hill visitor center on Interstate 68, west of Hancock, and other centers as part of budget cuts.

The Sideling Hill bathrooms stayed open at the time, then closed for about three months. They reopened Monday, Gischlar said.

At the rest area near Myersville, the welcome center was built in 1978, and the restrooms and parking area were built in 1972, he said.

The new restroom section will be 6,180 square feet, compared to 1,250 square feet for the old restrooms, Gischlar said. The new welcome center will be 3,940 square feet, compared to 1,250 square feet for the old welcome center.

There will be a restroom and welcome center on both sides of the road.

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