For years, Warren County Tourism Department has sought to establish a presence on the so-called Million Dollar Half-Mile — to tout the county’s attractions to the tens of thousands of people who pass by on Rte. 9 between Northway Exit 20 and state Rte. 149.
Years ago, the county leaders nearly bought the former Basketville store for such a purpose. Over the past 20 years, several other sites were also under consideration — to hijack tourists traveling on this principal route from New York City and New Jersey to Vermont.
The long-held dream of tourism gurus has now become a reality.
As of this weekend, county tourism employees are publicizing area amenities — in a new county Information Center in the Adirondack Factory Outlet Mall.
Warren County Supervisors voted Nov. 16 to allocate $50,000 to the enterprise, and the sum is to pay for mall-space rental, staffing, furniture, and equipment.
The county tourism display area is located just past Timberland in the interior mall.
The official rental agreement— $15,000 for one year — starts in January, but mall owner Dave Kenny has offered to let the tourism staff set up this week, so they’ll be active on Black Friday weekend — likely to be the busiest time of the year for the mall and the rest of the Million-Dollar Half-Mile.
While the initial set up may be modest, the full exhibit is to include video presentations and visual displays as well as an array of brochures and leaflets from all the county’s municipalities and chambers of commerce, county Tourism Director Kate Johnson said.
“We wanted to be active in the mall by this weekend for the seasonal shopping surge,” she said.
She noted that her agency would be hiring a part-timer to pass out materials and answer questions, and that several existing employees would also be rotated into staffing the information center.