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Medina opens new season for Visitor’s Center

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 4 June 2019 at 5:00 pm

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Maureen Sanderson, a volunteer at the Medina Tourist’s Center, and Jim Hancock, chair of the Medina Tourism Committee, stand in front of the Visitor’s Center which opened Memorial Day weekend in Rotary Park.

MEDINA – Memorial Day weekend is not only a sign summer is near, but it means the Medina Visitor’s Center is open and ready to greet visitors to the town.

The Visitor’s Center is run by the Medina Tourism Committee and first opened in 2009 in the office on Main Street shared by Western United Way and the American Red Cross. United Way’s director, the late Betty Hassall, was also the tourism person in the morning, and volunteers ran it afternoons, said Jim Hancock, chair of the Medina Tourism Committee.

In the early years, the Visitor’s Center was only open during July and August and had six volunteers.

Then came their move to the City Hall, where hours were expanded from Memorial Day to Labor Day. While that provided ample space, it was not the most ideal location because of its steep steps and distance from the canal. Many of its visitors are people boating or biking along the canal.

When the idea rose in 2018 to move to the Santa Claus house in Rotary Park, which was only used at Christmas time, the Tourism Committee jumped at the idea. The move was a positive one, as the number of visitors jumped from 90 the previous year to just shy of 200 in 2018, Hancock said.

Last year, visitors came from 29 states and three foreign countries.

The Tourism Committee is looking for more volunteers to supplement about a dozen who already run the Center.

Maureen Sanderson has been volunteering at the Medina Visitor’s Center for nearly three years. Here, she shows off one of Medina T-shirts for sale, which reads, “Barge into Medina. Get that Erie feeling.”

One of those volunteers is Maureen Sanderson, who is in her third year volunteering there.

“I love Medina and I like to talk to people about our town,” Sanderson said. “I always wanted to be a greeter.”

“People come from everywhere, and it’s nice to have someone in the Visitor’s Center who’s been around Medina all their life,” Hancock said.

Jim Hancock greets Marguerite Sherman, a new volunteer at the Medina Visitor’s Center. She showed up for her first day with grandson, 3-month-old Henry Rosenbeck.

Hancock himself couldn’t be prouder of Medina, and boasted for a town of only 6,100, it’s pretty incredible there are at least 10 great places to eat in the business district.

The Visitor’s Center has plenty of free handouts for visitors, including pamphlets, maps and rack cards. In addition, there is a small selection of tourist items for sale, such as Medina T-shirts, mugs and postcards.

“We have stuff I believe even residents of Medina would be interested in,” Hancock said.

The Visitor’s Center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Anyone interested in volunteering for a day or just a few hours can contact Hancock at 798-2118.

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