On Wednesday, a Grand Opening Ceremony was held at the PPL Center arena, complete with rubber commemorative pucks shot by dignitaries, followed by giant rubber puck shot through the front door by meLVin, the new mascot for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms hockey team.
“Tom Petty sang ‘the waiting is the hardest part,’ well the wait is over,” said Mayor Pawlowski to loud applause from a crowd of about 300 that moved into the lobby of the $177 million arena to hear speeches from the major players involved in the planning, financing, and building of the arena.
“Wow, what a place, this event marks a new era for Allentown, said the Mayor. “It is a rebirth Into the next generation of the city’s evolution into what I call Allentown 4.0. I’d like to thank State Senator Pat Browne. There were 500 construction workers who put in 900,000 man-hours to get this place built. Thank you to all of our men and women in the building trades, you did a great job. This one building, this single building, is having ripple effects not only in this city, but in the region and entire state, all built from local trades. In this building there is 2.2 million linear feet of wire, 105,000 feet of pipe (14 miles of underground piping just for the ice floor), 7,000 light fixtures, 65,000 square feet of glass, 5,000 pieces of steel weighing 4,000 tons from Erie, PA, and 36,000 cubic yards of concrete from Lehigh and Berks county.”
Also speaking at the event were City Council member Ray O’Connell, Rob and Jim Brooks, owners of the Phantoms, and Alan Walker, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Economic Development representing Governor Corbett, and several others.
After the speeches concluded, Gunner Fox, General Manager of the Arena, was joined by the Brooks brothers to pull back a curtain to reveal the inside of the Arena to the gathered crowd, who were invited to test the seats and atmosphere for themselves.
The arena features a video scoreboard which is 27 feet wide and 17 feet, with a higher-resolution picture quality that the Wells Fargo Center Jumbotron.
“We need to create a “sustainable” city which addresses income inequality, focuses on creating global trade, and trains a skilled workforce for the future through a high quality public education system,” added the Mayor. “This is how we will continue to succeed. Yes, today marks new dawn for Allentown, and that dawn is creating economic synergies they are having a rippling effect throughout the Lehigh Valley and the state.”