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(NECN: Mike Cronin) – It’s exciting news for the city of Worcester, Mass.
The official holiday season kicks off Friday night with a special ceremony and the opening of an outdoor public skating rink.
City leaders are hoping this brings people out to enjoy the city.
Crews were putting the finishing touches on the Worcester Oval Thursday afternoon, set to open Friday night as part of the city's festival of lights.
“People should know that this has been brought to them because they've asked for it,” says city manager Michael O’Brien.
He says the rink is a big deal for the city. It's been in the works for several years but became a reality this year.
“We've always looked forward to this rink opening. It had to be the right time financially for us. We've got some great partners across the spectrum that donated money to make it happen. We're pretty excited. It's going to be a great time for all,” O’Brien says.
Some in Worcester have full intentions on taking advantage of the common's new addition.
“I’ve got a 6-year-old daughter, so I'm hoping to teach her how to skate,” says Andrew Hanson.
He grew up skating on a lake in Millbury. Now a Worcester resident, he doesn't to travel far to get back on the ice.
“Last year with the lakes not freezing over, it gives you an option to be able to skate without the lakes.”
The 12,000 square foot rink is 4,000 square feet larger than Rockefeller Center's. It caught Elaine Henderson's eyes as she went for a walk with a co-worker.
“Every day we take a walk. We strut around through the common and lately I just noticed they were working on the rink,” she says.
The rink will also have music, concessions and much more, all trying to make it a family fun activity.
“I love it. I think it's nice. I think it's great for Worcester. It will give the kids something to do during school vacation, whatever. I like it,” Henderson says.
“It gives you the option, something different for the kids to do,” says Hanson, “and it's a really good experience overall for the children of Worcester.”