Mecosta County Welcome Center
The Mecosta County Convention & Visitors Bureau is gearing up to welcome visitors to the
NEW WELCOME CENTER - SUMMER 2017!
BIG RAPIDS — When visitors to Mecosta County come into Big Rapids this summer they’ll be able to learn about the many things to see and do in the area with a single stop to the new Mecosta County Welcome Center.
The Mecosta County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to build a new, more easily found headquarters for both organizations. Each entity will have its own wing of the building, with the new Welcome Center in the middle.
The new location, at the corner of State and Elm Streets, will raise the visibility of the agencies for visitors, said Connie Koepke, executive director of the Mecosta County CVB.
“In our current location, we’re very limited for space, and it’s hard to find us here,” she said. It is very difficult to efficiently promote the county without enough room to store brochures, maps or to display information for visitors stopping in.”
“Parking here has always been an issue, as well,” she continued. “At the new location, we will have designated visitor parking on-site, plus there is a city parking lot right next to the new facility. This will be a great asset for our visitors.”
The previous building on the site was demolished in early November of 2016 and work on the new structure is expected to be completed in late summer of 2017, Koepke said.
The entire project, including purchasing the property, demolition of the prior building, construction, landscaping and furnishing the new space, has a budget of $700,000. Each organization will be paying for its own office space and the Mecosta County CVB will cover 70 percent of the costs for the Welcome Center itself including all of the Welcome Center contents, such as brochure racks, handicap-accessible electronic kiosk, wall monitor, seating, reception desk and more.
The Mecosta County CVB has been working toward the goal of a Welcome Center for several years now, both in concept and in careful financial planning, she noted. Nearly two years ago, the Mecosta County CVB had an opportunity to vote an increase of the 2 percent room assessment collected from lodging guests to 5 percent. This will not only enabled the Mecosta County CVB to better promote the county with increased marketing funds, but also created the opportunity to save money for building the vibrant new Welcome Center and office space for the organization.
“We are excited at the opportunity to have both the Convention and Visitors Bureau and Chamber located in the same building. Having both organizations in the same location will be highly beneficial to all of our visitors and prospective businesses looking at this marketplace,” Koepke said.
“We want the new Welcome Center to be warm, friendly and inviting,” she continued. “Our guests should feel comfortable when they walk in the door to find out about the Big Rapids area and Mecosta County. If they’re only here for a few hours or on a day trip, we are sure they’ll find a lot of interesting information on great things to experience. Maybe they will even plan a return trip or weekend excursion.”
The Mecosta County Welcome Center is starting to take shape!
We have worked hard over the past several years to save and budget for a Welcome Center that not only we are proud of but one that we can provide to the community and visitors alike. We hope that everyone will enjoy it as much as we are going to.
A special Thank you to all of our Mecosta County lodging facilities for making this dream a financial reality. We will continue to post pictures of this exciting project and our plans for the Welcome Center itself.
March 10th: The strong, blustery winds have finally died down and the trusses are now going up!
March 21st: The sun is out and the roof is going on! It won't be long before we see the siding and shingles!
May 5th: The building is coming along quickly now! The siding is up, stonework is being done, and the electric is being ran. So excited to move into our new building!