Princeton’s soon-to-be-open tourist information centre smells like fresh paint – and according to the town’s CAO the new downtown location will be open for business May 15 in time for holiday weekend traffic.
Renovations to the Bridge Street building – the former Princeton town hall – are estimated to cost $75,000, according to Rick Zerr.
Council announced in February it would take over management of the tourist centre, previously operated in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce on Highway 3.
“What we are really hoping to do is bring these people downtown and do some shopping,” said Zerr, “where as previously they might not even have turned the corner.”
Zerr acknowledged town staffers have fielded concerns related to the move surrounding parking – particularly for RVs – as well as the cutting down of three trees on the downtown property.
He said the new visitor’s centre will be RV-friendly as the grassed lot on the building’s north side will be filled in, paved, and used as maneuvering lanes for large vehicles. There will be two parking spaces in the back for RVs, and three charging stations.
Zerr said the two large trees at the building’s front were removed “because we really needed to open up the front of the building” and will be replaced with deer retardant plants. The exterior of the building will be painted similarly to the current town hall on Vermillion Avenue.
“Hopefully it will be welcoming for these folks…we hope people like the landscaping.”
A Blue Spruce on the building’s south side was removed as it was too close to the foundation, he said, adding there will be a shaded space in that area for at least two picnic tables including a wheel-chair accessible table.
The centre includes three public washrooms. “I think it’s a feature that’s going to be really good for the corner and compliments the town square,” said Zerr.
Additional attractions include free wifi and a water fountain “where travellers can fill bottles with good, clean Princeton water.
Municipal staff occupied the Bridge Street building until November 2013, and at the time it vacated the property there were air quality concerns caused by a chemical leak from a neighboring dry-cleaning business into the buiding’s crawl space.
Zerr said the renovations include upgrades to the HVAC system and air exchangers that eliminate any air quality concerns.