PORTLAND — After a four-month renovation, the Portland Ice Arena opened for the season Saturday by treating skaters of all ages to a free afternoon on the ice.
City Councilor David Marshall and City Manager Mark Rees joined children and parents at the reopening celebration.
The renovation was funded with $625,000 from energy efficiency bonds authorized by the city last year. This was the first major upgrade of the arena since it was built in 1984.
The project included new refrigeration equipment, rubberized flooring and a fresh coat of paint. For skaters, the biggest change may be the replacement of heating and chilling loops beneath the ice, which is expected to eliminate leaks in the system that had created frost heaves and an uneven skating surface.
Beside improving the ice, the changes to the heating and chilling system will save the arena 67,000 kilowatt-hours in energy use, according to the city.
The Portland Ice Arena offers recreational skating to the public and is home to hockey teams from Portland, South Portland, Cheverus and Cape Elizabeth high schools. The arena is open through April, seven days a week, with hours usually running from 5 a.m. to midnight.