Lehigh Valley

Allentown's arena complex wins smart growth award

Mayor accepts award in Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Long before anyone sends the first puck flying across the ice, Allentown's hockey arena complex has won a "smart growth" award.

Mayor Ed Pawlowski accepted a  2013 Commonwealth Award Wednesday night at a ceremony in Crowne Plaza Hotel in Harrisburg.

The "building a better community award" was presented to the mayor by 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, the state's leading advocate for responsible land use.

The Commonwealth Awards recognize the impact of "smart growth" projects across the state and the people who make them happen.

The downtown complex, which is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2014, will feature the PPL Center arena, a high-rise office building called One City Center, a full-service hotel, retail and restaurant space and parking.

"I am honored to accept this award on behalf of the city," said Pawlowski. "The arena complex is a collaboration between government and business interests. The Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) is bringing an unprecedented amount of development to our city and making Allentown a model for redevelopment for cities to emulate."

Allentown communications coordinator Mike Moore said the project's smart-growth merits include redevelopment with a compact footprint that conserves land and reduces consumption, adaptive reuse of the historic Dime Bank Building, use of existing infrastructure and catalyzing meaningful neighborhood revitalization.

10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, a leading statewide organization promoting great places to live and work, works with citizens, organizations and public officials to create land use, infrastructure and policies that protect the state's resources, strengthen its economy and improve the quality of life.

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