St. Mary's to Open New Welcome Center in Charlotte Hall - Southern Maryland Headline News

St. Mary's to Open New Welcome Center in Charlotte Hall

A sheriff's substation will occupy the basement of the building

The Board of Commissioners and the Department of Economic and Community Development, Tourism Division, have invited the public to attend the Grand Opening of the St. Mary's County Welcome Center in Charlotte Hall on Saturday May 20, 2006, beginning with a ceremony at 11:00 a.m., followed by outdoor festivities from noon to 2:00 p.m.

The ceremony will include remarks by the County Commissioners as well as by local historian Dr. J. Roy Guyther and songs by the Charlotte Hall Veteran's Home resident chorus. Outdoor festivities will showcase local talent and attractions including music by "Island Girl" Deanna Dove. The Newtowne Players, Historic St. Mary's City, the Town of Leonardtown, North End Gallery, and the MD Department of Natural Resources and others will offer activities and displays. The event will offer classic cars and trucks on display, children's activities, and free balloons, hot dogs and lemonade for the first 300 visitors.

The Welcome Center is located at the corner of Rt. 5 and Charlotte Hall School Road (just north of the Charlotte Hall Library and south of the Flea Market).

The Welcome Center is the first stop for visitors entering St. Mary's County from the north via Route 301 and Route 5. The St. Mary's County Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the County to operate the center. Travel counselors will provide visitor information on county and regional sites and attractions as well as on hotels, restaurants and other tourism-related businesses and services.

The new center will provide economic benefits. Studies show that after visiting a visitor information center and speaking with a trained travel counselor, 1/3 of travelers are induced to extend their stay. The latest figures released by the State of Maryland (2004) indicate that in St. Mary's County, tourism generated $58.1 million in expenditures, $3.5 million in county tax receipts, and 700 direct jobs.

Situated on three acres in Charlotte Hall, the Welcome Center is housed in the refurbished headmaster's residence of the Charlotte Hall Military Academy. The center's design retains the historic park-like nature of the original setting. The center is meant to serve as the anchor for Charlotte Hall's development as a visitor destination. Charlotte Hall features several historic sites including Ye Coole Springs and Dent Chapel, as well as the new Three Notch Multi-Use Trail, the Charlotte Hall Veterans' Home, and the popular Amish Market at the Charlotte Hall Library.

The Welcome Center will also contribute to the vitality of the Charlotte Hall community by providing a gathering place for citizens. A sheriff's substation will occupy the basement of the building.

For more information about the Welcome Center in Charlotte Hall, contact the Tourism Division at 301-475-4200 extension 1404.

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