Dickens Welcome Center in need of a new home

·2 min read

The Dickens Victorian Village Welcome Center is in need of a new home.

The center at 647 Wheeling Avenue is described as the heart of Dickens Village and houses the Curiosity Shoppe, Imagination Station, and Educational Side of Dickens. It's also the place for visitors to stop and get help from Dickens Village Ambassadors in planning their visit.

The Democratic party owns of the building that houses the Welcome Center has asked them to vacate, according to Tom Davey, who added they knew they could only rent the building for two or three years when they moved in.

Dickens Victorian Village Welcome Center has until July 1 to vacate the premise.

Tom said this is the 16th season for Dickens Victorian Village, and the village brings thousands of people to the city each year, adding the bed tax and the sales tax collected during the Dickens Victorian Village season dramatically increases.

"(Visitors) enjoy it," Tom said. "They go home and tell their friends and family about it and they come back again."

According to Julie Davey, this year the Dickens Victorian Village is bringing in 45 buses, each one carrying between 40 and 50 people, who come for the day while others spend overnight.

"There is not another event that Cambridge offers that brings as many people to our community as Dickens does," Julie said.

Due to the amount of foot traffic the Welcome Center receives, Tom believes it is best to have it remain on Wheeling Avenue. He also they are looking for a handcip-accessible building with 1,100 to 1,200 square feet.

The first home for the village was at 643 Wheeling Ave. The second was the Gomber House, which, according to Tom, is a great structure but didn't draw a lot of foot traffic due to the location and was not handicap accessible.

Due to the lack of visitors, the inaccessibility, and extra expenses such as utilities, lawn and snow removal maintenance, the decision was made to move back to Wheeling.

Tom said that they have looked at a couple of places. One of them being where the RC1 Outfitters used to be at 836 Wheeling Ave., but he doesn't believe that location will be large enough.

The lack of available storefronts on Wheeling Avenue is good for Cambridge, but not for the village, Davey said.

This article originally appeared on The Daily Jeffersonian: Dickens Welcome Center in need of a new home

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