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Coralville hosts groundbreaking ceremony for Iowa Arena

The arena, which will seat 5,100 people, will serve as a future site for music and sporting events.

The Coralville community celebrated a milestone on Wednesday as the Iowa Arena officially began construction.

The Iowa Arena Project is a $190 million dollar investment from state and private funds.

It is also a project several decades in the making to improve the quality of live and bring future economic stability to the City of Coralville.

"Today is the the day that we really can't hide that Coralville pride," said Senator Robert Dvorsky, D-Coralville.

"It's really going to be a multipurpose area to really serve the entire community," he added.

The arena, which will seat 5,100 people, will serve as a future site for music and sporting events.

It will also be the location for future University of Iowa Volleyball home games starting in 2020, according to UI Athletics Director Gary Barta.

It also includes a 53,000 square-foot field house, Staybridge Suites Hotel, and space for retail and for local museums to have more permanent space on the Iowa River Landing.

"What really impressed us about this program was how multidimensional it was," said Rand Fisher, President of the Iowa Area Development Group.

The Iowa Reinvestment District, a state program which contributed 12 million toward the project price tag, contributed to Coralville's mission because it is more than just building a gathering place.

"Right now, with tight unemployment in Iowa, it's all about creating communities people want to live," said Debi Durham, from the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

It is also a sign of how much the city, and the Iowa River Landing has transformed in nearly 40 years.

"Back in the [1980s] and before was an incredibly blighted area," said Coralville Mayor John Lundell. "It [was] certainly not what the community wanted your first impression to be of Coralville."

The project will offer an opportunity for athletes in both collegiate and club level the community to play closer to home and have more court space.

"With having this center here, you can afford team courts, so we can host a bigger tournament, and getting higher quality teams...more competitive teams to play with," said Claire Overton, a West High volleyball player.

The general manager of the Iowa Arena said there will be more than 200 part time positions and around 20 full-time positions once the arena opens, which is expected to be in the fall of 2019.

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