STEUBEN CO., Ind. (ADAMS) – Officials from the Indiana Department of Transportation joined state and local leaders from Northeast Indiana for a ceremonial ribbon cutting to mark the end of construction on a more than two-year project to build a new, state-of-the-art welcome center on southbound I-69 near mile marker 345 in Steuben County.
The $4.4 million, 7,500 square feet facility features interactive displays that highlight Indiana history and pay homage to Steuben County and Northeast Indiana’s recreational and agricultural resources. Unique features of the new welcome center include a wooden rowboat suspended from a wall over an authentic eight-foot dock lashed together with timber and rope, an 18-foot windmill and an interactive video display resembling a corncrib that will feature a short presentation titled “Highways to the Heartland, An Introduction to the State of Indiana”.
Memorabilia from organizations and attractions of Steuben County are highlighted in the tourism room, including mementos from Steuben County Schools, Trine University, Pokagon State Park and Steuben County Historical Society. The Indiana Office of Tourism Development will also have resources available to inform motorists visiting Indiana about attractions as well as dining and lodging options.
“Our goal is to give tourists a taste of our Hoosier Hospitality, and let people know all there is to discover in Northeast Indiana and across the state,” Mike Smith, Chief Operating Officer of the Indiana Department of Transportation said. “The attention to detail and quality of work done by our entire contracting team has delivered a remarkable facility and a visitor experience in which all Hoosiers can take great pride.”
The welcome center, which replaces a rest area constructed in the early 1980s, is designed for the 21st century. All areas are entirely ADA accessible, including restrooms. Family restrooms are also now available as an added convenience for motorists. The property features nearly 70 parking spaces currently, and a project next spring will add an additional 70 spaces to the parking area to provide additional parking for both passenger vehicles and commercial truck drivers.
The contracting team that partnered to deliver the new welcome center includes Crosby Construction of Fort Wayne; Fosse & Associates Architects of Evansville; DLZ of Indianapolis; PG Exhibits of Coppell, Texas. Wall Art was provided by Bill Eyster of Angola; photography by Kirk Photography and videography by Marshall Riggan.
The welcome center opened to the public shortly after the event.