Explore Lawrence ready to welcome visitors at new downtown center

Gary Scott, left, and Bianca Storlazzi, both of Lawrence, speak to Victoria Cleary, director of visitor services with Explore Lawrence Visitor Center, 812 Massachusetts St., on Monday, July 15, 2019. The center just moved from its space in North Lawrence to downtown.

The Explore Lawrence Visitor Center opened Monday in its new location at 812 Massachusetts St., and people immediately started coming through the door.

They weren’t necessarily out-of-town visitors searching for restaurant suggestions, but they were interested in the new location. One person wanted to become a volunteer at the center. Another requested the guidelines for submitting art to be displayed on the center’s walls.

The point of moving the visitor center, which had been in the city-owned Union Pacific Depot, 402 N. Second St. in North Lawrence, was to better serve visitors in town.

The Explore Lawrence Visitor Center, 812 Massachusetts St., opened for business Monday, July 15, 2019. The grand opening will be on Aug. 30, 2019, during Final Friday with the first of changing artists exhibits.

“North Lawrence didn’t have the traffic,” said Michael Davidson, executive director of the organization. “We averaged 10 visitors a day.”

In the new location, Davidson said they would be able to offer a better service because they were going to be in the heart of downtown, where most visitors tend to gravitate.

The official grand opening for the center will be during the Final Friday art event on Aug. 30, when the first of the art exhibits by local artists will be on display. The exhibits will change monthly.

The visitor center will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

The Union Pacific Depot will remain open for event rentals and will be evaluated for any further use, said Roger Steinbrock, marketing supervisor for the City of Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department.

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