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You Paid For It: Mohawk Valley Welcome Center, so nice they built it twice.

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CBS6 News has now obtained cost breakdowns for the Mohawk Valley Welcome Center, the new rest area along the NYS Thruway near Fultonville. It’s the rest area so nice, they built it twice. The first version cost $7.5 million, but months after it opened it was ripped apart and rebuilt for an additional $4.6 million. That rebuild was all taxpayer money, from the NY Works program. We filed a Freedom of Information request for the cost breakdown of the rebuild, and after waiting nine months, we received a one page list with some of those numbers.

The playground at the rest area cost more than most houses in the Capital Region – more than $400,000. A single slide on that playground cost $13,673.60. There are two different payments for landscaping work; one is for $276,846.00, the other is for $105,980.70. A path that winds through the grassy area next to the building cost taxpayers $116,518.58 because it’s a Flexi-Pave soft surface. Most of the original brand new stairs and entryways were torn out – the cost for the second version of the sidewalks, patios, stairs, ramps and granite curbing – just shy of $140,000.

The Executive Director of Tourism for Empire State Development Ross D. Levi says “Visitor spending in the region has increased by more than $104 million from a year ago, and the Mohawk Valley Welcome Center plays a vital role in the overall tourism plan by encouraging travelers to experience local attractions and support local Taste NY businesses.”

NYS is now building another welcome center in the Capital Region, this one along the northbound lanes of the Thruway right across the highway from the existing rest area in New Baltimore. The cost of this new welcome center is $18.2 million.

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