Mohegan Sun Upgrades Debated

Officials in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., are debating whether to upgrade the aging  at Casey Plaza to make it more attractive to elaborate, equipment-heavy shows.

On one side is SMG, which operates the Mohegan Sun Arena and has called for renovations to make the venue more competitive. Opposing that view is a member of a construction committee for the building, who’s questioned the integrity of the structure.

SMG would like to bulk up the arena’s rigging, trusses and catwalks, and costs have been estimated to fall between $250,000 and $400,000, the local Citizen’s Voice reported.

Venue GM Rebecca Bonnevier told the paper the Mohegan Sun was contacted months ago and questioned about whether it could support “Marvel Universe Live!”

“The trend in the industry is to have bigger shows that rig more things, that are rigging heavier things, because they’re trying to put everyone in the audience in awe. And in order to do that, they have to add more pyro, more screens, more flying things,” Bonnevier said. “It will affect your business going forward if you’re not able to handle these types of shows.”

But board member Angelo Answini responded to the Voice that the building is already suffering from cracks and deteriorating paneling.

“I wouldn’t touch this with a 10-foot pole. I would not want to be the one responsible,” board member Angelo Answini said. “I would not, in my opinion, do anything to this building except for what it was designed for. It was designed for concerts and the hockey.

They’re the kind of shows that we have to have in this building. If we go the other route, we’re asking for trouble.” He added that he wonders whether the building is settling.

“There’s too many cracks here and too many indications of problems with the refrigeration on the ice,” he said. The arena is currently undergoing a $700,000 project to repair cracks and is set for $3.6 million in renovations to add food services and a new lounge, the Voice noted.