Block Island Times

Future of the Visitor Center a ‘difficult discussion’

The third and final public forum on the future of the Visitor Center located in Old Harbor focused on the costs of running the facility and who, and how, it would be staffed.
As it stands now, the Chamber of Commerce operates the building, but given that many of the tasks that staff offer to island visitors are outside its membership, the discussion has been on whether the Center should be run by a third party group that would satisfy the needs of all businesses on the island.
Town Manager Ed Roberge said that “the cost of doing business today” at the Visitor Center is between $15,000 and $20,000 a year. “That’s a bare-bones operation,” said Roberge. The forum was held at Town Hall on Thursday, Nov. 14.
Roberge said that Interstate Navigation is the leaseholder on the property, and owns the building. The building is rented by the town to the Chamber.
The lease is up in January 2020 — just two months away.
“Who is going to occupy it and run it, and how do we go from there?” asked Town Councilor Chris Willi, who

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