Kalahari Breaks Ground on Convention Center Expansion

TOBYHANNA TOWNSHIP -- Just when you thought the self-proclaimed largest water park in the country couldn't get any bigger, think again.

Officials at the Kalahari Resort near Mount Pocono held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for its convention center expansion.

"Exciting, it's nice to hear there is more coming to the area as opposed to leaving the area. We are excited," said Brenda Wallace of Archbald.

The expansion will include a ballroom and 18 additional meeting rooms.

The general manager at the resort in Tobyhanna Township says this project is actually two years ahead of schedule.

"There are not that many resort hotels that are in that position that we are in right now. The demand on our group business has been so fantastic. I mean the whole resort has been well received but our group market we knew would take a little longer to develop, but to think that we can start this project two years earlier is just amazing," said Don Pleau, Kalahari Resort general manager.

The expansion will not only double the size of the current convention center but it will also create more than 200 jobs.

"With an expanded convention center, the occupancy will be flat throughout the entire year. We will add a couple hundred more jobs and we will put all these additional jobs into the county here so it's going to be great," said Pleau.

Harry Forbes from Milford used to work at Kalahari. He says it's great to see continuous expansion in the Poconos.

"When you look at it, it's a big boom for the northeast. It brings people in besides here and then they spend money elsewhere across the whole northeast. They come to Scranton to see baseball games, they come up for different coal miner's tours, so this is huge for the tourist industry," said Forbes.

Managers say the whole project is expected to take about 18 months to complete.