Arena Front picAllentown’s newly developing arena complex received a 2013 Commonwealth Award for its resourceful means of redevelopment on behalf of the state’s leading responsible land use group, 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania. Mayor Ed Pawlowski received the award at ceremony recently held at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Harrisburg. “I am honored to accept this award on behalf of the city,” said Pawlowski. “The arena complex is collaboration between government and business interests. The Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) is bringing unprecedented amount of development to our city and making Allentown a model for redevelopment for cities to emulate.” The downtown complex will consist of restaurants, retail space, the PPL Center Arena, the One City Center office building, a hotel and parking. The development is set to be complete in the fall of 2014. The “Building a Better Community Award” granted to the complex recognizes the impact of smart growth; redevelopment with a compact footprint that conserves land and reduces consumption, use of existing infrastructure including the adaptive reuse of the historic Dime Bank Building, producing neighborhood revitalization, and other criteria. 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania is a statewide organization that works with organizations and public officials to create land use, infrastructure and governance policies and practices that protect the state’s resources, strengthen its economy and improve the quality of life in Pennsylvania. The organization supports local and state government agencies, regional and community leaders, private firms and practitioners working to preserve or build great places. The “Building a Better Community Award” recognizes the renovation of previously existing buildings into new, thriving businesses. The revitalization of these structures helps to preserve the environment, reduce industrial waste, and improve the local economy.