Shumlin touts public-private rest stop at Exit 7 in Berlin

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Shumlin touts public-private rest stop at Exit 7 in Berlin

Mon, 12/14/2015 - 12:19pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Peter Shumlin, Department of Buildings and General Services Commissioner Michael Obuchowski, and Transportation Secretary Chris Cole joined the partners of Maplewood LTD on Friday to sign an agreement and break ground on the state’s first 24-hour Vermont Traveler Services Center. The Center will be built and operated at no cost to Vermont taxpayers as part of Maplewood’s redevelopment of the existing convenience store and deli located in Berlin just down Exit 7 of I-89. The Vermont Traveler Services Center will be a 9,000 square foot facility that honors Vermont’s rural culture and country stores. The facility, and a neighboring hotel, will also be powered entirely by a nearby 500 KW solar array.

Governor Shumlin at the ceremonial ground breaking Friday. The general contractor is EF Wall in Barre. Courtesy photo.

“We’re delighted to be working in partnership with the state to provide these important traveler services,” said Randy LaGue, a co-owner of Maplewood LTD.  “This new facility will offer a full service convenience store with a deli, grill, indoor and outdoor seating, Vermont gifts and products, fuel for cars and trucks and comfortable rest rooms – all under one roof.”  

LaGue said it will have the capacity to serve more than 5,000 customers each day, and be the only center of its type in Vermont open all day, every day.

“This is a great example of what can happen when we look for creative ways to provide Vermonters and our visitors with more services at no expense to the taxpayers,” said Governor Shumlin.  “I am grateful to Commissioner Obuchowski, Secretary Cole, Mr. LaGue, and Mr. Lamberton for working hard to make this project a win for travelers and tourists and a win for our taxpayers.”

Governor Shumlin noted that, under the agreement with the State, 100 percent of the staff at the Vermont Traveler Services Center will be trained and certified as official “Ambassadors” by the Vermont Department of Marketing and Tourism, Vermont Ambassador Program.  The facility will also count all vehicle and pedestrian traffic for reporting to the state and include an interactive information kiosk and courtesy phone that allows travelers to connect with additional hospitality services and area attractions.

The State of Vermont is installing and maintaining full-size signs on the northbound and southbound sides of I-89, as well as the eastbound and westbound lanes of the adjacent Vermont Route 62.  And the Vermont Traveler Services Center will also be featured on the information center section of the State’s website and in related published material.

Secretary of Transportation Chris Cole said, “It is important to provide travelers with safe, convenient places to stop.  The fact that these services will not consume transportation fund resources means we can devote more dollars to infrastructure and maintenance projects.”

Commissioner Obuchowski said, “Providing convenient, safe and professional services to our visitors and to Vermonters travelling our highways is a core part of our department’s mission.  How we pay for these services with competing priorities can be challenging.  When we can provide these services without having to burden Vermont taxpayers, it’s a big win for the State.” 

Construction in Berlin is expected to be completed, with the facility open to the public, in September of 2016.

BERLIN – December 11, 2015 – Governor's office