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Governor Opens Finger Lakes Welcome Center in Geneva

Ginny Carter of New York Kitchen, Empire State Development's Howard Zemsky, and Governor Andrew Cuomo at the opening of the new Finger Lakes Welcome Center.
Greg Cotterill
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Finger Lakes Public Radio

Governor Cuomo was in Geneva Wednesday for the official grand opening of the Finger Lakes Welcome Center on the lakefront. Last June, Cuomo announced the state’s $5-million investment to transform the existing Visitors Center into one of 11 welcome centers across the state.

  “We’ve been focusing a lot on upstate New York and the upstate economy, as you know and tourism is a very big driver. It is the fourth biggest economic drive for the state of New York right now.”

The Finger Lakes Welcome Center is themed around Wine and Water, paying tribute to the region’s vineyards and lakes. Cuomo touted investments in state parks and the craft beverage industries, including beer and cider, by his administration. One of the features of the new Welcome Center is a large “I Love NY” sculpture, a campaign that’s been rebranded in recent years to include the entire state rather than the City alone.

“The best sales device we have is the Finger Lakes itself. There is nobody who comes who is not just blown away by the experience. I can’t tell you how many people come and say, ‘I didn’t know. I went. I saw. My God, it’s so beautiful.’ And, the whole trick is just exposure and getting people to see what we have and see how beautiful it is and see how much you can do and see how lucky we are to be one of the special places on this globe.”

The Governor did not take questions and did not address the ongoing controversy over the proposal to place a waste-to-energy incinerator at the former Samson Army Depot just south of the new Welcome Center. Actor and activist Cynthia Nixon, who is challenging Cuomo for governor visited Geneva last month. She criticized the Governor’s silence on the issue.

Kelly Walker started his public radio career at WBAA in West Lafayette, Indiana in 1985 and has spent some time in just about every role public broadcasting has to offer. He has spent substantive time in programming and development at KWMU in St. Louis, WFIU in Bloomington, Indiana, and Troy Public Radio in Alabama before his arrival in Geneva, New York. In addition, his work has been heard on many other public radio stations as well as NPR. Kelly also produces The Sundilla Radio Hour, which airs Sundays at 1 p.m. on Finger Lakes Public Radio and is distributed to public radio stations all over the country through PRX.
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