New center launched for Elm City visitors

Visitors and residents of New Haven will finally have a resource to turn to for information on city events and attractions.

This Friday, INFO New Haven officially opened to the public. Located on the corner of Chapel and College streets, the 180-square foot storefront facility will serve as a high-tech, hands-on, interactive visitor center that will provide all types of information to tourists, Yale students and New Haven residents. The center hosts a variety of information tools including two computer stations and a wall-size map of downtown New Haven.

“This information center will make it easier for visitors to our city to discover all the activities and services New Haven has to offer,” Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday. “INFO New Haven is a perfect way to say ‘welcome and let us help you explore the greatness of the Elm City.'”

The idea for INFO New Haven came from Scott Healy, executive director of the Town Green Special Services District, and Andrea Pizziconi, financial analyst for Yale University Properties. Both Pizziconi and Healy had been looking for a way to provide information to the increasing number of tourists and shoppers coming to downtown New Haven.

“Last year there was a synergy,” Pizziconi said. “We were both working to do something like this and a great and wonderful collaboration happened.”

INFO New Haven has been a collaborative partnership between New Haven and Yale University from the beginning. The design and development of the project was a joint venture between University Properties and Town Green, a group dedicated to stimulating economic growth in downtown New Haven. The site, located at 1000 Chapel Street, was donated as a rent-free space by University Properties. Town Green provided the funding for the renovation of the site and will also manage INFO New Haven. In addition, the Yale University Secretary’s Office has provided the new visitor center with student tour guides, who will be paid with a seed grant from the Yale Visitor Information Center.

“[INFO New Haven] eliminates the border between town and gown,” Pizziconi said. “It is a one-stop information source to find out what’s going on in New Haven and at Yale.”

INFO New Haven is also part of an ongoing effort by both the city and the University to fuel the growth of New Haven’s economy.

“A lot of people pass through New Haven,” said Bruce Alexander, vice president and director of New Haven and State Affairs. “We want them to stay, we want them to spend money, we want them to create jobs.”

Merchants in the downtown area have also been enthusiastic about the arrival of INFO New Haven.

“Speaking for the merchants, we are extremely excited about it,” said Chip Croft, President of the United Merchants Association and co-owner of Seychelles dress shop. “You don’t have to stand on the street long to have someone walk up to you and ask you for information about restaurants and galleries. We have been feeling a dire need for an information center for a long time.”

INFO New Haven will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Comments