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Welcome Center Closing for Months

DELAWARE WATER GAP -- A frequently visited rest stop in the Poconos will soon be closed for several months while the building is being renovated.

The Delaware Water Gap welcome center off Interstate 80 west will be closed to the public starting November 28 and isn't expected to reopen until Memorial Day of 2018.

The building itself is less than 20 years old, but because it's one of the first rest stops off the interstate, officials say the Delaware Water Gap welcome center is showing a lot of wear and tear.

Some people we spoke to have mixed feelings about the closing while work is being done.

Eugene Harrison runs a transportation company that brings people from Pennsylvania to New York. One of his daily stops is the Delaware Water Gap welcome center.

"I commute people in the morning to work so I come here a lot, all the time."

Starting November 28, Harrison and thousands of other people who normally stop here will need to go elsewhere.

PennDOT officials announced the building will be closed until Memorial Day for major renovations.

"Progress is good. It's good, but the inconvenience for a while is going to be kind of hectic. Especially for the holidays. People travel here a lot. They come back and forth, and this is a major area all day, so it's going to be an inconvenience," Harrison said.

PennDOT officials say the building opened in the early 2000s.

Because it's one of the higher volume rest stops, it's in need of repairs.

The renovation project is expected to cost $2.5 million. Not only will a lot of the wear and tear be repaired outside, but inside, too.

Making the place more handicap accessible and repairs to the bathrooms, parking lots and rooftop are just some of what is to come.

Yolanda Salgado is traveling back home to New Jersey after more than 40 years. She says family members told her to stop and see the welcome center. She's glad she made the stop before it closes for repairs.

"Maybe it's a good thing. For those that ride up and down, I don't know it's a piece of history that is going to change. For me, I'll say I saw it before the renovations," Salgado said.

"I think it will be an inconvenience for some people coming up here, but if they improve it, it will be an improvement," Robert Kobetitsch said.

While work is being done to the center, PennDOT says the nearest rest stops for drivers will be off the Marshalls Creek and East Stroudsburg exits.

The welcome center is scheduled to reopen Memorial Day of 2018.

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