MASON CITY, Iowa - It's been planned for years.
Now, a major milestone for the River City Renaissance project in downtown has finally been reached, and while there is still some work to be done, the new multipurpose arena is officially open.
The public got their first chance at seeing the work that has been taking place inside the former JC Penney's space-turned-arena during a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday morning.
Mohawk player Jacob Barr has been tracking the progress of the new space since the beginning.
"I've always been excited because every time I drive by, it's always something new."
Now he's looking forward to taking the ice here.
"The atmosphere...it's kinda cool. It's having a big crowd and the lights and all that."
Another Mohawk player, Jamison Weydert, was in awe of the amount of work that's been put into the arena since breaking ground in February.
"We never knew it was going to be done this early. It's like a dream come true."
And he's looking forward to having bigger locker rooms compared to their current situation at the North Iowa Ice Arena.
"There's a lot more room, we can do warmups in there."
Kester Robbins is a die-hard hockey fan, and has followed the evolution of North Iowa semi-pro hockey teams, from the Huskies, to the Outlaws, and now the Bulls. He's also tracked the development of the arena since the start, including some bumps along the way.
"There was a little doubt, but I was really hoping it would get pushed through and get built."
Besides hockey, he's looking forward to having other events at the arena, like concerts.
"I'd like to see what kind of music venues are going to come."
At the ribbon cutting, Mason City Parks & Recreation Superintendent Brian Pauly says that, while details are limited, he's working on getting an act to play here.
"I will say there is a strong possibility we will hold our first music venue in early April."
The overall feeling here? Positive.
"Between the offices and the arena, this is an amazing thing for my department and the City of Mason City."