Paved parking lot, acoustic improvements among touted features.
WILKES-BARRE TWP. — The ice-making system is new. Dozens of acoustic panels were added to boost sound quality. And the parking lot is finally fully paved.
The Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza is proudly showing off the $2.8 million in improvements added to the facility over the summer.
Local officials gathered with the arena’s management team on Friday to celebrate the upgrades to the 18-year-old venue, which hosts national concerts and shows and is the home to the Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton Penguins hockey team.
“This place here is an icon for Northeastern Pennsylvania,” said state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-121, of Wilkes-Barre. “This place has put Northeastern Pennsylvania on the map.”
Donna Cupinski, a member of the Luzerne County Convention Center Authority, which owns the arena, said Friday was nearly 23 years to the day since the board first met to discuss a possible arena.
“Together, they shared a dream,” she said.
Cupinski rattled off a long list of improvements made to the arena over the years since it open in 1999, but emphasized the parking lot. The lot was paved in stages over the 18 years and now is fully complete.
“Let me say that again. We paved the entire parking lot,” Cupinski said.
Improvements to the arena were paid through the county’s hotel room tax and state grants, officials said.
Brian Sipe, the arena’s general manager, thanked the people who frequent the arena, which he said has achieved worldwide honors and continues to add more events like high school basketball games.
“We have proven that WilkesBarre continues to be a great place for concerts to see, hockey to be played and for local high school and college students to play basketball in or receive their diplomas,” Sipe said.
State Sen. John Yudichak, D-14, of Plymouth Twp., said upon entering the arena he spotted a photo of Neil Diamond performing on opening night in 1999. He quoted from Diamond’s “America” song, saying, “we’ve been traveling far” about the progress the arena has generated in the area after much public debate and the “Arena Yes” campaign.
“Yes, we have traveled far from the days when people debated the value of having an arena to the days when we cannot even think of Northeastern Pennsylvania without this tremendous community asset,” Yudichak said.
Yudichak noted the arena created more than 1,000 jobs, $63 million in economic activity and $10 million in annual tax revenue.
“I want to thank the nearly 400,000 families who enjoy this beautiful arena every year,” Yudichak said. “The investments we make today and will continue to make in the arena is an investment in your families and the families of Northeastern Pennsylvania.”
The Luzerne County Convention Center Authority hosted a press conference highlighting recent venue enhancements to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. From left, are attendees Tom Woods and Ed Harry, authority members; Brian Sipe, arena general manager; state Sen. John Yudichak; Donna Cupinski and Frank Conyngham, authority members; state Rep. Ed Pashinski and Michele Reilly, authority member.
Acoustic panels were installed in the ceiling and along the walls at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in WilkesBarre Twp.