Gov. Ed Rendell says there’s no money in state coffers for a new arena in the greater Allentown area, which would seem to put the kibosh on a move of the former Philadelphia Phantoms to the Lehigh Valley — and could prolong the team’s tenure in Glens Falls.
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell says there’s no money in state coffers for a new arena in the greater Allentown area, which would seem to put the kibosh on a move of the former Philadelphia Phantoms (AHL) to the Lehigh Valley — and could prolong the team’s tenure in Glens Falls.
The background: the Phantoms were forced from their home and sold by the Philadelphia Flyers after Comcast-Spectacor made the decision to tear down the Spectrum and replace it with an entertainment district. The new owners of the Phantoms, the Brooks Group, immediately set out to plan a new arena somewhere in the Lehigh Valley. The new 8,000-seat facility would have received $30 million or $40 million from the state and at least $25 million in private spending.
State legislators had included money for an arena in the state budget, but a spokesperson for Rendell — without consulting with legislators, apparently — declared spending on the project dead and indicated this was not a negotiating ploy; lower-than-anticipated tax revenues is forcing the state to cut back.
This doesn’t necessarily kill the deal, but it comes close. The Brooks Group was willing to put in 20 percent of the cost of the arena, and Northampton County officials say they may be able to divert some gaming revenues to the project. Still, $40 million is an awfully big hole for smaller government bodies to fill during hard economic times.
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