A new sheet of ice blankets the New Hope Ice Arena's north rink.
So what better time for a novice to get acquainted with skating for the first time in her life, than at the arena's grand reopening..
"Don't tell her this but she's a board hugger," Jim Corbett said of the novice on the ice Wednesday morning.
That novice is New Hope Mayor Kathi Hemken.
"When I found out that they were going to have open skating, I thought, you know, I love this ice arena," Mayor Hemken said. "So many of my family have been in here skating. It's time."
Time, not just to learn the art of skating, but to celebrate a $4.4 million renovation project – the first since opening in 1975.
"I am just thrilled this is opening," she said.
Jim Corbett has overseen the project since day one.
"With the existing equipment that was in this building, and with the existing condition of that equipment, we would not be able to stay in business without making these improvements," he said.
The list of improvements includes a renovation of the ice floor, a new refrigeration system and environmental controls.
"The ceiling sometimes had water (condensation) up there, or the scoreboard always dripped cause there was water and dew coming off it," he said.
A problem fixed with the socks on the ceiling.
Overall, the improvements to the infrastructure will make the arena less expensive to operate in the long run.
"So it's a significant thing as far as reducing our carbon footprints, reducing our expenses for the arena, and getting these improvements paid for with savings on the energy side," Corbett said.
Plus, it keeps the arena open for another 40 years.
More than enough time for the mayor to become an expert skater.
Crews, meanwhile, will replace the sheet of ice on the arena's south rink on Monday to complete the project.
Aug. 22, 2012