Rockfish Gap Tourism Center Stays Closed with No Running Water
The Rockfish Gap tourism information center has 20,000 visitors every year. But for the last month there hasn't been a single one - because it's closed.
The top of Afton Mountain off Interstate 64 has the potential to draw countless tourists to Waynesboro and the Shenandoah Valley.
"I'm a business owner. I put up people and I get a lot of traffic off of the Parkway and the Skyline Drive, a whole bunch of traffic," said Bill Aldridge, treasurer of the Tourism Association of Greater Waynesboro.
But right now the information center is closed because there is no running water, which means no bathrooms or hand washing.
"The infrastructure is there. It's just a matter of getting the water there that we need to operate," said Tim Fitzgerald, director of community development for Augusta County.
That could be a challenge, because the leak is probably under the interstate.
"If that's the case, we need to work closely with VDOT to determine how we go about fixing that and getting that taken care of," Fitzgerald said.
That's a task that could take months. But a short-term solution could have the tourism center up and running in less than a month.
"Put in a portable water system that water could be brought to the site," Fitzgerald said.
Aldridge says this is the perfect time to move the information center to the bottom of Afton Mountain on Route 250 at the entrance to Waynesboro.
"I'm concerned about people's first impression of Waynesboro. And the things that are up there now do not give people a very good first impression of Waynesboro. People are willing to go downtown if they think that what they're going to get is good information," Aldridge said.
There is no timetable to fix the problem but with peak tourism season right around the corner, everyone says the solution needs to come soon.