Almost everyone who helped on the renovation project helped cut the ribbon on Thursday.
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The state Department of Recreation cut the ribbon on a renovated visitors center for the Mount Greylock State Reservation on Thursday, part of a $1.5 million investment on the mountain.
"Our newly rehabilitated visitor's center now offers state-of-the-art exhibits, orientation films, gallery space, energy efficient lighting system, thermal windows and a welcome desk with improve visitor's desk," DCR Director of MassParks Priscilla Geigis said.
"While the Greylock experience really starts when people see the mountain from a distance and when they come up the entrance road, visitors can now have a wonderful, interpretive experience here."
The renovations began with a $860,000 federal grant that was matched with $215,000 in state funds. The grant paid for the development of a master plan, creation of an orientation film, new kiosks in various park areas on the mountain and the renovation of the center on Rockwell Road, and set some aside for maintenance and operations.
During the renovation process, engineers found that a wall in the visitors center would need to be replaced as well as more infrastructure work, which tacked on an additional $460,000 to the state's contribution to the project. The visitors center was built in 1972.
"It is absolutely incredible. It is just so amazing," said Geigis, who added that the designs were based on public input about what the mountain means to visitors and residents. "We all know Mount Greylock is a special place."
The new exhibits and kiosks touch on some of the mountain's characteristics — from its history of being the state's first conserved land to its geology to its prominence as a recreational area. They include such displays as a virtual tour of the state's highest peak during all the seasons and live weather reports, among other information.
Michael Coyne, representing the Mount Greylock Advisory Council, said the exhibits truly showcase all the mountain has to offer. He said the "money was very well spent."
"We really are making memories here," he said. "There is no question that all of us in the Berkshires are passionate about Mount Greylock."
The renovation also includes a gallery featuring the photography of the late Bill Tague, who spent 40 years documenting the county through his images for The Berkshire Eagle. (iBerkshires.com hosts some of his photographs here.) His wife, Irene, volunteers organizing events at the center. She was honored with a copy of the dedication that hangs outside of the gallery and participated in the ribbon cutting.