HAZLETON -- Two projects in the city of Hazleton are moving forward thanks to extra cash coming in from state casino money.
The Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress just received more than $500,000 dollars to help turn an old bank on Broad Street into an arts center and a parking lot next door into a park.
"Those two projects we really see as key for kind of spurring and as a catalyst to other improvements downtown," said Krista Schneider from the Downtown Hazleton Alliance Progress.
The Hazleton Art League will likely move into the new arts center which is planned for the inside the former Security Savings Bank.
"They'll have cultural events, exhibits, they have music," said Schneider.
With the extra money, the downtown group hopes to be able to break ground soon at the park next door.
Schneider said, "Cleaning that up and making it into a green space is going to be real important."
Even with that gaming money, the downtown group said it will still need more money to make that vision come to life, but people in Hazleton are already seeing small changes like some greenery right in the heart of the city.
"I'm excited about it. I'm glad they're going to start putting stuff downtown for families," said Cindy Johnson of Hazleton.
Those with two legs and four are pretty pumped, too.
Joe Utynoski from Hazle Township can't wait to take his dog to the park.
"Lucy is going to enjoy it, but don't worry we have the bags. We're all set," he said.
People who live in the city said building something where people can enjoy themselves, is the perfect way to spend that casino money.
"If it's for entertainment, that's what gaming is, entertainment? So they have to give back to the people," said Johnson.
"We're glad to see it's downtown and glad to see it's going to be something we can see tangible," Utynoski said.
The Downtown Hazleton Alliance plans to apply for more grant money to finalize both projects, but the director said people in the city can expect to start to see those changes come to life soon.