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Phoenix Convention Center, Symphony Hall mark 40 years

Hundreds of people made their way to downtown Phoenix Friday afternoon for a special celebration.

For four decades, the Phoenix and Convention Center and Symphony Hall have continually made a positive impact on the local economy, according to information from the city.

“Since 2000, we’ve hosted more than 650 convention events and welcomed nearly two million delegates, providing an economic impact in excess of $2.5 billion to the state and local economy,” the city said.

A festival was held to celebrate the rebirth of downtown Phoenix, in addition to marking the 40th anniversary of both the Phoenix Convention Center and Phoenix Symphony Hall.

“It used to be a ghost town around here with tumbleweeds,” said Julie Kossak, owner of Z Pizza in downtown Phoenix. “Now, there are people out every day. There are ASU students, people riding their bikes, people heading to bars, pub crawl events, so it’s constantly busy.”

Kossak said business has been great as of late.

“Better than I ever expected,” she said.

Local businesses and eateries were on hand to offer free samples and information about their products and services at the festival.

The Phoenix Convention Center opened on Sept. 28, 1972. It was originally called the Phoenix Civic Plaza. Symphony Hall opened the next day.