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Lake Anna State Park visitors center receives facelift

Posted on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 3:39 pm

The virtual information station provides a glimpse into each of the 35 state parks.

The Lake Anna State Park Visitors Center has undergone a renovation “Extreme Makeover” style.  The original structure was built in 1983 when the park, located in Spotsylvania County, opened to the public.  It was filled with exhibits representative of the park, including examples of local wildlife and its gold mining history.

On Saturday, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, park staff, Friends of Lake Anna State Park and the Virginia Association of Parks hosted a reopening celebration for the Visitors Center.  The redesigned center now features a 3-D theater, touch screen learning stations, a virtual camping exhibit and a HD display featuring video from all 35 state parks.

“We started this project after Labor Day and, with a lot of blood and sweat and support from the Virginia Association for Parks and Friends of Lake Anna State Park, we have completed the project,” said Doug Graham, Lake Anna State park, manager.  “We’re very pleased with the way this came out.”

The project was a public/private partnership between the Commonwealth, the Friends of Lake Anna State Park, Virginia Association for Parks and Imperial Multimedia.  The cooperative effort allowed the renovations to be completed for approximately $200,000, much below the estimated $500,000 if the project had been bid to contractors.

“This is a great day to celebrate,” said Joe Elton, DCR State Parks Director.  “While the state has provided monies for new facilities such as cabins and campgrounds in the park system, funding for renovations is not readily available.  This project shows what can happen when the state partners with Friends groups and private businesses.  We set out to make this space more relevant to our park users in a new and unique way and add another level of enjoyment for our guests.”

During 2012, over 8.3 million visitors utilized a state park with over 1.1 million staying overnight in a facility.  The state provided $17 million to the park system, with another $17 to $18 million coming from user fees and merchandise.  The visitors are estimated to have generated over $200 million in revenue to the areas surrounding the parks and created over 2,000 jobs statewide, according to Elton.

To read the entire story, see the Feb. 14 edition of The Central Virginian.