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DECC arena construction moving quickly

Construction of the new arena at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center is moving along, and some parts will be done ahead of schedule, according to DECC administration.

Construction of the new arena at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center is moving along, and some parts will be done ahead of schedule, according to DECC administration.

"We're starting to see the building take shape," executive director Dan Russell said. Foundation work at the $57 million arena is nearly complete, and the first pieces of steel were brought in last week.

Russell said the frame should be complete by Oct. 1, and more than 100 workers a day will be on the job throughout the winter.

He also said more than 1,000 new parking spots will not only be completed ahead of schedule, but also under budget. "We had a contingency of $380,000 that we haven't had to touch," he said.

The parking ramp should be ready for traffic by mid-September. "Our whole goal was to have that ramp open up and available for parking for the first symphony of the year, and we're confident we'll be there," Russell said.

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However, it won't be ready for the Bayfront Blues Festival next week. "I don't think there will be a problem," said Cyndee Parsons, bluesfest spokeswoman. She said there still are 800 spots at the old parking ramp and five lots surrounding the park.

But the festival is losing a large RV area where the construction is taking place in the former parking lot. Instead, RVs can park at Spirit Mountain and be shuttled to the performances.

"So, they'll be able to camp and enjoy the camaraderie before and after the festival," Parsons said. "It just won't be as convenient this year."

The new DECC arena is expected to open in December 2010. You can watch its progress on a Webcam at www.decc.org .

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