Thanks to a multi-million dollar investment from the state government, Grand Island will soon become the official gateway to Western New York. In addition to receiving a new cashless tolling system, Grand Island will also be home to the Western New York Welcome Center on Alvin Road adjacent to I-190.
This new welcome center will be much more than a quick rest stop. Instead, it will be designed to showcase “local attractions, foods, craft beverages and other destinations throughout the region,” according to Niagara Frontier Publications. Amenities at the welcome center will include a children’s play area, pet comfort area, community room and charging stations for electric cars.
The welcome center’s design will be heavily based on trademark “Prairie style” of style of Frank Lloyd Wright, whose work can be found throughout Western New York. Inside the structure, visitors will be able to enjoy an open floor plan that features a market and café with local products from Buffalo, Niagara Falls and the surrounding areas.
“It is going to be a virtual museum, as well as spotlight goods from local farmers,” said Grand Island Town Supervisor Nathan McMurray in a recent interview. “It will have artifacts from both Grand Island and Western New York history. “We are the host community for the welcome center for five counties.”
The welcome center planning team is even collaborating with a group of local historians to develop displays that will highlight some of the most notable historical landmarks in the area. There’s still plenty of work to be done, but the welcome center is slated for completion in August of 2018.