Arena Project

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Wachovia Arena Although the new Luzerne County arena looks a lot like any other high quality community arena, the story of the development of Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza is about much more than the design, financing, and construction of an 8,500 seat arena for professional hockey, concerts, shows, and conventions. The arena project is the story of a concerted community revitalization effort, an effort that was undertaken by citizens throughout Luzerne County who had a keen interest in making the future of their community as bright as possible.More than 30 years ago, thanks to the help of Luzerne County’s legendary congressman, Rep. Dan Flood, and many others, the Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce acquired the land in what is now Highland Park from the Blue Coal Corporation and the Hollenback Coal and Land Company. Because this land was essentially land-locked, it was obvious that a new interchange was a necessity if the Highland Park property was ever going to thrive. However, a new interchange on an Interstate highway does not get built just because a community thinks it is a good idea. Positive proof of future economic vitality is essential in the decision making process. That’s where the idea of a new arena to serve the needs of everyone in Luzerne County came from — to create a project that would obviously dictate an interchange on I-81.Working cooperatively, hundreds of men and women from many backgrounds promoted, designed, financed, and built a new arena that cleaned up an abandoned, and very ugly strip mine on the edge of Wilkes-Barre, made land available for economic development in a forgotten section of the community, and added a much-needed interchange on I-81.Today, Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza is the fifth ranked arena in the world for gross revenues among venues with 10,000 to 15,000 seats. It is home to an arena football team, the Pioneers, and an American Hockey League franchise, the Penguins — one of the hottest ticket attractions in all of minor league hockey.The Arena is the number one meeting place in all of Northeastern Pennsylvania, and one of the top twenty arenas in the country in the number of tickets sold and revenue generated. The Arena holds 8,500 for hockey or football, and as many as 10,500 for a sold-out concert. The main floor will hold a thousand people for a gala dinner, and can easily be converted to host a trade show, a circus, an ice show, an antique auto show, or a dirt track for motocross cycles.Now with Exit 168 providing rapid access into this former strip mine and culm bank, hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in infrastructure, shops, restaurants, food stores, and hotels.

Last Updated: 08/19/06 03:32:01
History of Economic Development
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