APPLETON (WLUK) -- The long-awaited reopening of a downtown Appleton park took place Wednesday, one day before Mile of Music begins.
Jones Park closed for renovations in 2016, at the same time construction began on the adjacent Fox Cities Exhibition Center.
The closure of the park meant the loss of Mile of Music's largest outdoor venue for two consecutive festivals. It also forced ice skaters to look for other outdoor venues in the city during the past three winters.
A focal point of the renovated Jones Park is a $1 million amphitheater donated by Miron Construction. Sixteen acts are scheduled to play the amphitheater at Jones Park during this weekend's Mile of Music.
"We're a festival that's all about experiences," Mile of Music Executive Producer Dave Willems said.
"This adds a whole different level of experience in terms of just being able to see the band with a huge sound system that we'll have a chance to spread it across the park."
The park cost the City of Appleton $4.2 million in total. Part of that cost went towards ensuring there is wheelchair accessibility across the park.
In the winter, Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna says there will be two ice rinks at Jones Park: a hockey rink and a family skating rink.
Mayor Hanna also said he hopes this park can help residents create memories.
"Fifty years from now, I just want that generation to talk about how much they enjoyed coming down here and listening to music. You just want that to live on," Mayor Hanna said.