TOBYHANNA TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) - It's official. After months of speculation and uncertainty, a well-known attraction is in fact coming to the Poconos. To prepare for this major project, a nearby road is getting a major makeover.
A patch of land near Kalahari Resorts sits empty. Instead of deer, it will soon be home to exotic fish and sharks.
According to Senator Mario Scavello, a Ripley's Aquarium is coming to town, and it will bring along about 250 jobs.
"I think it's fantastic. I'm shocked," says Jacqueline Gwilliam, Long Pond.
Currently, Ripley's has three aquariums in Tennessee, South Carolina, and Canada. The Myrtle Beach location also features restaurants, rides, and shops.
"I really think they need things up here, like there's no entertainment whatsoever up here. I think that's great, and the kids will learn," Gwilliam adds.
According to the Ripley's Entertainment website, its three aquariums attract millions of visitors.
To prepare for the extra traffic, Route 940, off Interstate 380, is getting upgrades. Tobyhanna Township's leaders say crews will fix a tricky off-ramp, create a signalized intersection, and add turning lanes.
"I think that's great for the area, great for the drivers. There's a lot of people that complain about the roads," explains John Milevoi, Manager, Exxon.
This is an estimated $5.5 million dollar project. So far, nearly $3 million dollars have been secured.
Not everyone we spoke with is happy about the plans, but the manager of a local Exxon on Route 940 sure is.
"This area should renaissance over the next couple of years," Milevoi predicts.
The road construction starts next year and should take about a year to complete. Local officials say the aquarium is expected to open in about three years.
They also hint, there's even more to come.