Six years ago Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, his city still smarting from losing the Sands casino to Bethlehem, first suggested that an arena might make a fine consolation prize.
Pawlowski on Wednesday, standing at the city’s $272 million arena complex, surrounded by dust and gravel, hard hats and heavy machines, looked downright satisfied.
With construction in full swing, steel and concrete rising from what was once a block of low-end stores and for a time just a muddy hole at Seventh and Hamilton streets, Pawlowski, media in tow, got his first tour of a project that he has been trying to make a reality for most of his time in office.
“It really is amazing when you think about going from the conceptual stage to something that is physically under construction,” Pawlowski said afterward. “I wanted to show the amount of planning that has really gone into this construction process.”