Thursday, January 1, 2015

Is the New Hope visitor’s center closing for good?

New Hope Visitor's Center (Photo: Charlie Sahner)
A funny thing is happening at New Hope’s visitor’s center Wednesday: the doors are closing at 3 p.m., but nobody knows when they’ll be reopened.

Said a volunteer, “We’re not sure what’s going to be happening.”

Seems that the folks at Visit Bucks County, a marketing agency in Bensalem that currently runs the place, have gotten tired of using New Hope’s only information center and free public bathroom as a conduit for sending tourists elsewhere in Bucks. “The New Hope location will be closing effective January 1,” pronounces their website.

And the Borough, who owns the property and is willing to rent it for a song to any responsible group willing to staff it, appears unable to locate one.

The indefinitely AWOL New Hope Chamber of Commerce has considered doing something, although the remaining few appear more focused on a rumored merger with Lambertville’s chamber, according to sources close to the group. The New Hope Business Alliance likewise has announced no plans to keep the visitor’s center afloat, although rumors of potential rescuers abound.

So for now, it appears that operation of the facility will take a hiatus, and January is certainly not the worst time of year for that to happen.

More problematic longer-term is the large number of potential and actual visitors who phone or walk into the visitor’s center every day looking for a place to wash up or a recommendation on a store, restaurant or accommodation. That unfulfilled need, along with a rudderless business community and more competitive tourism market, will only add to the existing stress on New Hope’s commercial sector.

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