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South Side redevelopment documentary to debut

In the past few years, organizations such as PBS39, ArtsQuest, the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Bethlehem, and Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem and many others have led the effort to transform the former Bethlehem Steel property on the city's South Side.

Tonight, these organizations are coming together to host an exclusive premiere of the new PBS39 Documentary Bringing New Life to Old Steel beginning at 5 p.m. at ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks.

The documentary will be screened at 6 p.m.

From the award-winning producers of Bethlehem Steel: The People Who Built America, the documentary tells the story of a new economic engine filling the void left by the once mighty Bethlehem Steel Corporation.

Years in the making, the documentary was produced and directed by PBS39's Emmy award-winning production team including Amy Burkett, executive producer; Grover Silcox, producer/writer; Lisa Robinson, editor; Tyler Glenn, production manager, Laura McHugh, associate producer; and Luke Johnson, Eric Werner, and Jeff Frederick, videographers.

“This is a pivotal documentary that tells one of the greatest stories of our region,” said Burkett, PBS39 television station manager. “We show how a sleeping giant was transformed into a vibrant community and serves as an economic model for other cities across the country.”

The program explores how the community debated the pros and cons of allowing gaming in Bethlehem and shows how the partners invested more than $800 million dollars and turned the largest private brownfield in America into a destination for arts, entertainment, culture and gaming.

Viewers will learn how a development partnership purchased the former Bethlehem Steel land and brought in the Las Vegas Sands Corporation after politicians approved gaming. The documentary shows how a massive mixed use development plan weaved together the site's history with 21st Century ideas, technology and culture.

“Viewers will see the casino's ground-breaking and whirlwind construction. They'll see new steel arrive at the old mill. They'll see table games approved by the state and the completion of a 300-room hotel, the tallest in the Lehigh Valley. They'll also learn how the shadows of the iconic blast furnaces made the perfect home for arts and culture created by ArtsQuest and PBS39,” Silcox said.

The documentary will premiere on PBS39 in January.

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