The Sun National Bank Center and Arm & Hammer Park are underused event venues that could contribute significantly toward the goal of a more vibrant entertainment business district if used more frequently. With many colleges in the region, the venues could continue hosting various championship games for several sports, as well as host pre-season games for professional sports teams in New York and Philadelphia. While not in use for these events, the Center could be more available to the surrounding community. These are regional amenities which will most help activate the downtown.
To accomplish this, the City should create a partnership with Mercer County Improvement Authority (MCIA) to create a strategic redevelopment plan for the Sun National Bank Center. The plan should have concrete steps, accountability, and development phases. The plan should address the insularity of the Sun National Bank Center and explore possibilities to integrate its economy with the surrounding economy. To the extent possible, the City should work with MCIA and Mercer County to establish relationships with professional teams, colleges, and universities to host pre-season games and/or tournaments. Moreover, the City must promote the facilities for local organizations' events as part of its larger marketing efforts.
To capitalize on the development potential created by these venues, the City must assess the merits of a dedicated revenue for improvements and redevelopment of the arena and ballpark. This will require exploring the use of public/private partnerships for redevelopment with a transparent and efficient process.