November 20, 2012ANDROSCOGGIN VALLEY — "We are very excited to celebrate this major milestone with you today!" said Cathy Conway, vice president of economic development of the Northern Community Investment Corporation (NCIC), in her welcoming remarks on Tuesday, Nov. 13 — first in Berlin and then in Gorham — in front of N. H. Grand kiosks.
"When NCIC started down the path of helping the economically challenged North Country and making a commitment to literally put Coös County on the map as a major tourist destination, we were dreaming big.
"But it is amazing how dreams can turn into reality when many people come together and share the same vision," Conway pointed out.
"The N. H. Grand kiosks are like modern-day monuments," she said. "Besides being state-of-the-art way-finders and WiFi 'hot spots,' these solar-powered structures are just beautifully designed and built."
Both are dedicated to the people and businesses of their respective communities, explained Conway. She thanked the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund and the Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce for coming up with the matching monies needed for the Northern Border Regional Commission that granted a total of $200,000 in 2011 for several kiosks to be located strategically around Coös County.
Destination Development International of Seattle, Wash., designed the kiosks.
Pete Lafarrier of ATD Signs of St. Johnsbury, Vt., constructed them.
PSNH provided the land in Berlin; the Town of Gorham provided space on the Common.
Map and panel designs are by Beehive Mapping of Boston, Mass., Sullivan Creative of Concord, and Eileen Alexander of Whitefield.
Conway cited the Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Androscoggin Valley Hospital, and both municipalities for providing leadership and support.
The next two kiosks are already slated for installation: one in Twin Mountain; the other in Groveton. A fifth will be located in the Colebrook-Pittsburg area at a site as yet to be determined. Each will feature a map of Coös and surrounding communities as well as local history, specific sites, business information, and a range of activities designed to intrigue visitors so that they stay to explore, eat, and shop, boosting the area's economy.
Denise Vallee, Gorham's Director of Finance and Administration noted that the kiosk in the Common is especially valuable now that the state rest area in Shelburne is closed. Further, she pointed out, the nearby Gorham Information booth is only open seasonally, whereas the kiosk is available 24/7/365.