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Lynch cuts ribbon for Exit 20 Visitor's Center

Members and staff of the Lakes Region Association gather around the governor to cut the ribbon and officially open their new facility. From left are Brad Lipe, publisher of The Laker and incoming president of the LRA; State Representative Dennis Fields of Sanbornton; Gov. John Lynch; executive director of LRA, Amy Landers; Kim Sperry, membership and publications manager for LRA; and Jim Morash, past president and Captain of the M/S Mount Washington. Donna Rhodes. (click for larger version)
September 23, 2009
TILTON — The Lakes Region Association officially opened their new Visitor's Center at Exit 20 on Monday night with the snip of a ribbon by Gov. John Lynch.

"I love coming to the Lakes Region," he told the crowd. "And I applaud the association for all they do. This is the right way to promote and market the area."

Calling the region a "jewel" in the state, Lynch said he was proud to be not only the governor but a customer of the area. He and his family ski, hike and enjoy time on Lake Winnipesaukee as often as possible.

"Let me know if there is anything I can do for you," the governor said with a smile. "I look for reasons to get out of the State House and come up here."

On hand for the ceremony were representatives of local businesses, resort owners and operators and a host of others who are members of the association.

Last December the Visitor's Center moved its headquarters from Exit 23 in New Hampton to the Franklin Savings Bank building 12 miles south at Exit 20 in Tilton. Initially housed in temporary quarters as construction was being completed, they now have a spacious, attractive facility to assist and inform visitors to Central New Hampshire.

"We were missing a lot of people before who had already gotten off the interstate at Exit 20," said Amy Landers of LRA. "Here we can see more people, find out what they're looking to do and assist them better. Traffic counts are already higher and once the signs are all up we'll be able to give (LRA) members even more exposure."

Lakes Region Association is a collective group of area businesses, formed to better promote attractions and services in the Lakes Region and Central New Hampshire. The association is a strong one, with 400 members from the Sunapee area to the White Mountains.

"It's nice to have a facility here at the gateway to the Lakes Region where we can encourage them to visit the businesses and attractions throughout the area," Landers said.

Assisting in the ribbon-cutting was State Representative Dennis Fields of Sanbornton, who handed the specially engraved scissors to the Governor. Fields was very pleased with the new facility, saying it would be a great help to visitors in the area.

"When people come in here they'll know what we're all about," he said. "It's good we can reach out to visitors and do more for them. That's the key."

Past President of the LRA and Captain of the M/S Mount Washington Jim Morash said he was pleased with the ceremony's turnout.

"It's wonderful to see this," the captain said. "We have a great place for visitor's now."

LRA has now begun reaching out, not just nationally but internationally as well, promoting the Lakes Region in Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Germany, France and Italy. The reception has been wonderful, Landers said.

Gov. Lynch later stated that the Visitor's Center has a big impact on tourism. People actively look for centers such as this, he said, where they can get so much information on places to go and things to do.

"It's one-stop-shopping, which is very, very meaningful to the area," he said. "The center has a very significant impact on businesses here. The association's just done a great job."

Martin Lord & Osman
Varney Smith
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