This Saturday at 2:30 p.m., it’ll be time to lace up those ice skates again!
“But wait,” you say, “I’m still holding out hope for another beach day before I’ve got to start thinking about winter, and after all, there are a few more 80-degree days forecast for this week.”
“And,” you continue saying, “I never got a chance to do some of my favorite fall activities, like apple picking or going on a haunted hayride!”
Well, guess what? You can go to the beach Saturday morning, pick apples around midday and go ice skating that afternoon.
Because Saturday represents the official unveiling of the newly repaired Portland Ice Arena, which was the beneficiary of $625,000 in improvements over the proverbial offseason.
Saturday’s grand re-opening will feature music, refreshments, free skating and free ice skate rentals (while supplies last). City Councilor David Marshall will cut the ribbon for the re-opening.
Here’s some background, provided by the city, on the repairs made, the history of the arena and what skaters can expect when they show up on Saturday:
Following the annual ice melt in the spring, the arena was closed for the summer to allow for repairs to the heating and cooling systems as well as general maintenance for the nearly thirty year-old arena. The repairs will improve the quality and surface of the ice at the arena and save money and energy.
Funded in large part by the city’s energy efficiency bond, the project, the first significant infrastructure improvement since the construction of the arena more than a quarter of a century ago, replaced the heating and chilling loops beneath the ice and sand surface, the pumps and compressors, and chilling and heating units. Leaks in the heating system had caused frost heaves in the ice resulting in an uneven surface and damaging the surrounding floorboards. The improvements will allow for a thinner ice surface, reducing compressor hours of operation and is estimated to save 67,000 kilowatt hours a year for the pumps.
The arena is home to a number of local school’s hockey teams including Portland, Cheverus, South Portland and Cape Elizabeth as well as a recreational figure skating program. For more information about the ice arena, visit their website at www.portlandicearena.com which posts information about public skates, skate lessons and birthday party packages. In addition to public skating times, the Portland Ice Arena offers “Learn to Skate” programs for children and adults of all ages with more than one thousand skaters learning to skate at the Ice Arena each year. The Portland Ice Arena opened in December 1984, with a seating capacity of seven hundred and fifty. The Arena contains four locker rooms, skate sharpening services, skate rentals, and a concession area. The arena uses a Blademaster 9000 custom skate sharpening machine that can take care of all figure and hockey skate sharpening needs. With the new machine, staff are able to offer the “Flat Bottom V” sharpening as well as custom radiusing and contouring.