Ralston Mayor Don Groesser had been out of town the past ten days, before laying eyes on his completed vision for the very first time Monday.
"It looks beautiful," he said. "It really gives you goose pimples to see the reality of everything that's happening. And I'm so excited. I'm so proud of everybody's work."
The 3400-seat Ralston Arena took 15-months and $28.8 million to build, and that's not counting the $9 million in land costs and infrastructure.
Lancers' Hockey, UNO Men's Basketball, the Omaha Beef and Omaha Rollergirls are among the teams that have committed to the arena. Arena and city officials are still in negotiations to bring an NBA D-League team to the facility as well, a spin-off of the Denver Nuggets.
"It's a great size," said Frank Mason of Omaha. I think they'll fill the place up, which is important."
Grant Anderson of Plattsmouth likes the geography of the arena. "It's centrally located instead of downtown, with all the traffic," he said.
But the building's best quality, said General Manager Curtis Webb, "It's a multi-purpose set-up. "We can go basketball. We can go hockey, indoor football... dirt shows, concerts, you name it."
Webb even has several wedding receptions already booked. "The beauty of the building is its flexibility to host any event we want."
Another key part of the arena's plans is ensuring it stays budget-friendly. "I mean we have free parking. You come in and you're going to pay less than you do at most places for food and beverage," Webb said.
"We partner with a couple local restaurants that are going to provide better food, maybe, than you've seen in a lot of venues across the country. We're just excited, and overall - the grand scope of what we're doing here, it's gonna be fun."
A Coors bar and a Dugout retail store within the facility have just a bit more work to go before they make their public debut. All other areas are camera-ready for the media's first official tour at 2 p.m. Tuesday. Also Tuesday, the arena is hosting its very first private event, the U.S. Foods Show.
Country star Rodney Atkins performs Friday night, the first paid public show at the venue. And the public is invited for an open house Sunday, October 21st, Noon to 4 p.m.
The Lancers will take to the ice for the first time next week, on October 26th. UNO Men's Basketball begins November 9th.
Other upcoming events include the World Beer Festival, an antiques show and a Victory 38 fight.
Groesser believes the new arena's benefits will extend beyond his city, and to the entire metro area. "We've got a lot of new businesses coming to town. Everybody's inquiring as to where they can get a storefront or how they can get involved. And that's the kind of economic boost we were hoping for."