Beekmantown, NY — North Country leaders are calling on funding to reopen the Beekmantown Gateway Center, an information center that closed right after the pandemic started.

The Beekmantown Gateway system is the first rest stop south of the Canadian border and often is the first impression tourists get of the Adirondack region. Kristy Kennedy of the Adirondack Regional Tourism Council says the center is “a place for people to come and learn, maybe stop at places they weren’t really expected, that’s what this is all about.”

Leaders say that leaving the information center closed has been bad for business across the region. Drivers getting off of Interstate 87 are greeted with ‘Building Closed’ signs plastered across the center that is typically run by a staff of four or five people and welcomes more than 100,000 visitors each year.

Since April 2020, it has only been a place for people to use the restroom and hop right back on the road as funding was not included in New York’s funding.

Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay Lake) said, “It probably should’ve because we knew our friends and neighbors to the north would be coming back but it may have fallen off and not been as high of a priority as it should’ve been at that point.” He joined business owners to call on Governor Hochul for $190 thousand in funding.

Businesses say the center is crucial to their economic development and success. “We can have a bunch of brochures or signs or advertisements around,” said Bruce Monette, co-owner of Titus Mountain. “It will help people get the word out and maybe take the 50 mile drive to Malone and visit Titus and stop at any other businesses along the way and keep commerce all over the north country prosperous.”