Thanks to a new public-private partnership, Vermont will soon have its first 24-hour rest area and services center along Interstate 89. The Vermont Traveler Services Center, off exit 7 in Berlin, will include a convenience store and deli, and be powered by a 500 kilowatt solar array.
On Friday Gov. Peter Shumlin, Department of Buildings and General Services Commissioner Michael Obuchowski, and Transportation Secretary Chris Cole announced the public-private partnership with the principals of Maplewood LTD, the company building the service center. The facility will be privately owned, but staff will be trained and certified as official state “ambassadors” through the Vermont Department of Marketing and Tourism's Vermont Ambassador Program.
According to a press release, the service center will include "an interactive information kiosk and courtesy phone that allows travelers to connect with additional hospitality services and area attractions." In addition, the Maplewood facility will tally visitors for the state.
"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 off Exit seven of I-89," the news release says. "The Vermont Traveler Services Center will be a 9,000 square foot facility that honors Vermont’s rural culture and country stores."
For its part, the Vermont Agency of Transportation will install and maintain signs for the facility on I-89 and Route 62. The state will also advertise the Maplewood facility on the information center section of the state’s website and in its publications.
“It is important to provide travelers with safe, convenient places to stop," Secretary of Transportation Chris Cole said. "The fact that these services will not consume transportation fund resources means we can devote more dollars to infrastructure and maintenance projects.”
Randy LaGue, a co-owner of Maplewood LTD, said the 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.”
The service center is expected to open next September.