Sylvania visitor center gets reprieve

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ATLANTA -- The House Appropriations Committee rejected Monday Gov. Nathan Deal’s recommendation to close the Sylvania Visitor Information Center, the first built in the state.

Like governors before him, Deal recommended shuttering the center to save taxpayers money since it has the lowest number of visitors of the state’s visitor centers. He also called for axing the center in Plains for the same reason, but that would require changing the law.

The other centers are located on Interstate Highways which have more traffic than the ones in Plains and Sylvania.

Rep. Jon Burns, R-Newington, issued a statement taking credit for saving the center in his district shortly after the committee approved the budget.

“The Sylvania Visitor Center is not only a rich piece of history, but it also spurs economic growth in our community by providing visitors with information on area businesses,” he said.

House Appropriations Chairman Terry England was quoted in Burns’ press release as able at looking out for local interests.

“Chairman Burns is an effective advocate for his district and the region as a whole,” said England, R-Auburn.

Burns, chairman of the House Game, Fish & Parks Committee, calls the center critical to steering tourists to area attractions, including Screven Motor Speedway, Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area, the Wade Plantation, Millhaven Plantation and the Dell Goodall House.

The full House votes Wednesday on the budget and sends it to the Senate. Past efforts to kill the two visitors’ centers have survived Senate scrutiny.

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