Every summer, elected officials gather in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to battle over the annual state budget. The men and women generally each have at least one cause that they fight for but in the end it is party leadership and the governor who determine the fates of these pet projects and important causes. This year, there were efforts made to add changes that would be specific to Allentown. The changes are designed to help the city escape lawsuits so that the arena can finally get back on track. The budget just has to be passed first, with the amendment, which may be a huge hurdle to overcome.
In May, it was announced that a lawsuit may have derailed the plans for the arena for the city's new American Hockey League team. The surrounding municipalities did not like that the arena was being built with money collected from individuals. Allentown was using revenue from earned income taxes. The lawsuit immediately put a halt to the construction. The arena would instead be funded through the use of municipal bonds, as many important projects general are. If the budget amendment that includes the language that should fix the problem is adopted, and is constitutional, then the problem should be solved. However, anything can happen with budget amendments so it may be several days before any one knows for sure.
Allentown had been hoping to move the current Adirondack Phantoms to Allentown for the 2013-2014 season. The city had a contract for the team to move to the city. Basically, the city just needed the arena completed in time. From the beginning there were problems. Citizens and small businesses did not like the proposed locations but after the disagreements were over, ground was broken on the new arena. There were various little roadblocks during construction, but for the most part, it was going along as scheduled. Those who are in charge of the plan believe in it, but many local residents seem skeptical.
The Allentown Phantoms will be the third AHL team in the central Pennsylvania region. The Hershey Bears, located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, call the Giant Center home. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins call the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, home. There will soon be a lot of hockey games for central Pennsylvania fans to watch. With three teams within driving distance, it should be a lot of fun. Though fans will have to wait a season, it should be more than worth the wait.