The city holds a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 6 p.m. Thursday to mark the opening of the first community ice rink inside a stadium where baseball is played during the spring and summer.
The ribbon is expected to be sliced by Mayor Gabriel J. Campana, officials with the new professional hockey team, Williamsport Outlaws, and Williamsport Ice Arena officials, a non-profit organization that will operate the community-end of the rink.
The sharp contrast of the white flooring where the ice will be formed and kept cool by chillers inside the 80- by 200-foot rink next to green grass in mid-October was a sight to behold.
Players were getting their physicals at the hospital, according to staff on the scene. Their equipment, including hockey sticks, skates, helmets and red and black outfits were hanging and displayed in the locker room. The first game is Oct. 24 with the Dayton Demonz.
About two weeks ago, the city began to witness the transformation of Bowman Field's parking lot as it became filled with a dozen tractor-trailers of pallets carrying staging equipment, rink equipment, a 400-ton chiller and a Zamboni, an ice resurfacing machine.
Rich Cubin, vice president of Rink Specialists, and his crew began the process of erecting the first ice arena in city history.
It started with prepping the field before building the 20,000-square-foot platform stage for the ice arena to be built on. Once the staging system was completed the cooling mats, boards and glass, and piping hook ups to the chiller were set for ice making.
A workout scheduled for the team Monday had to be postponed due to a problem with the chiller, however.
In early October city police investigated vandalism of tanks containing antifreeze, but it won't stop the progress, Cubin promised.
"It's a very strategic process in erecting any ice arena, never mind an outdoor arena, but these guys do this everyday and it's pretty amazing to watch the entire process develop right before your eyes," said Don Kirnan, president of the Williamsport Ice Arena Non-Profit Organization.
The arena will be for community use throughout the winter months for public skating, youth hockey and figure skating, adult hockey and numerous outside events.
Hopes are that a developer will purchase the YMCA property on Elmira Street and convert the Y's Pickelner Arena into a civic and sports arena with ice and locker rooms at no cost to taxpayers.