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Rupert skating rink

Rupert city employees Fernando Vale, left, and Matt Etherington on Monday assemble the city's new ice skating rink. The rink will open on Friday.

RUPERT — The city is preparing for a special Christmas celebration on the Square on Friday with the traditional lighting ceremony and a first glimpse of the park’s new cast iron fountain bowl.

The new fountain is the centerpiece of the Square, which is undergoing a major renovation.

Along with seeing the new fountain, participants can watch the 7 p.m. arrival of Santa riding on a firetruck to turn on the Christmas light displays at the Square, enjoy chili, cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate while watching fireworks and try out the city’s new synthetic skating rink set up this year at Neptune Park.

The skating rink will be permanently installed on Fremont Street at a later date.

The city purchased the 60-by-40 resin skating rink at a cost just shy of $50,000. The city expects it to bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue over the next 20 years.

On Monday city water and wastewater crews were busy hammering the resin sheets together.

“I think this is a really good thing,” James Taylor, city water superintendent, said. “It’s good for the kids and the community.”

Taylor said the city ordered 100 pairs of skates in an array of sizes, including a men’s size 13.

David Joyce, wastewater superintendent, said vinyl fencing will be installed around the parameter of the rink. There will also be a concessions stand and holiday decorations added.

The resin-based surface will allow the rink to be used year-round during special events like the Fourth of July celebration.

Rupert Fire Chief Roger Davis said the fire department is ready to transport Santa to the Square at 7 p.m., where he will turn the display lights on.

The fire department will then light fireworks.

“There are a lot of exciting things happening here in Rupert right now,” Davis said. “The city is really being proactive.”

Davis said 95 percent of the grass was installed at the Square and the remainder will be put down after the fountain bowl arrives on Tuesday.

When the owners of Windsor’s Nursery, a subcontractor at the Square, learned the fountain bowl would not arrive in time for the Christmas celebration, they went to Georgia to pick it up.

“I can’t say enough about the whole Windsor crew,” Davis said. “We are all so excited.”

Costs to skate are $5 for any age with skate rental, $4 with own skates and $40 for a 10 skate punch card. Other fees are $3 for helmets, $3 for scooters and $3 for skate sharpening. Party rental is $175 for the first 25 skaters. Anyone interested in sponsoring the rink should call the city recreation office at 208-434-2400.

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