Gov. Walker welcomes Wisconsin travel center opening

(WEAU) - After nearly two years, the new Wisconsin travel center is complete.
Governor Scott Walker stopped in Menomonie to welcome the grand opening of the center.
Since the closing of the Hudson Welcome Center in 2009, tourism in the northwest parts of Wisconsin has been a focus for Governor Scott Walker.

"We didn't have a rest stop or a welcome center to almost the Wisconsin dells area.” said Joan Friedenfels, Menomonie Chamber of Commerce Tourism Director.

But now that’s changed with the opening in Menomonie.

“We have a presence, that's not just about a few brochures but about a team that were happy to see you, were happy to have you in the state. We want you to keep coming back,” said Republican Governor Scott Walker.

“This is the time we can capture some of the travelers coming through and we can offer them information on our community and communities all over," said Friedenfels.

"It’s a 16 billion dollar market in Wisconsin so it's a very very important and it's a job generator," said Kim Heinemann, President of Hudson area Tourism Bureau.

"This is one more step toward reinforcing that. I couldn't be more pleased to see this kind of partnership,” said Walker.

It’s a partnership between not only tourism and the DOT but the Chippewa Valley and Hudson.

“We certainly had hope that we could make something happen in Hudson but that just was not going to happen so this is a fantastic alternative for us, and certainly something that Hudson wanted to be part of,” Heinemann.

The tourism director with the Menomonie Chamber of Commerce says on average about a thousand cars will stop at the east and west bound rest areas per day. Therefore she says its essential they both now have become welcome centers.

Walker says the center will attract those traveling to and from Wisconsin.

"This area of northwest Wisconsin is incredibly close to the twin cities not only to Minneapolis and St. Paul but all the suburbs of that area,” said Walker.

Although winter isn't a busy time for tourism, organizers say the spring and summer will be filled with travelers visiting the center.