The new tourism and welcome center on I-94, just east of Menomonie, officially opened Tuesday morning with Governor Scott Walker cutting the ribbon.
Wisconsin Department of Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett greeted guests and introduced the governor saying, “When it comes to tourism, he has a passion for it.”
In addition to maps and brochures, Klett noted, the center will be manned, offering the personal touch of customer service.
“Four communities came together to make it happen,” she said about a collaboration that includes Menomonie, Hudson, Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls.
Walker says tourism has great economic impact on the state and appreciates the cooperative effort it took in establishing the welcome center, the first of eight.
“I couldn’t be more pleased about this great partnership that this travel center is a part of,” he said.
State and regional organizations, and representatives from each were in attendance, including Menomonie Mayor Randy Knaack.
Area chamber and tourism directors cited were Linda John (Eau Claire), Allyson Gommer (Chippewa Falls), Joan Friedenfels (Menomonie) and Kim Heinemann (Hudson).
Transportation Deputy Secretary Mike Berg and members of the state legislature were on hand, including Senator Sheila Harsdorf and Representatives Warren Petryk, Tom Larson, and John Murtha.
The Menomonie Area Travel Wisconsin Welcome Center project is the result of a partnership among the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, Wisconsin Department of Transportation, The Greater Menomonie Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center, the Chippewa Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce and Visit Eau Claire.
Joe Holland of UW-Stout was also recognized as being a driving force behind the center, and developing partnerships through the UW System.
Walker said the center will be a boost to tourism in Wisconsin.
“We have the best attractions in the world,” the governor said.