Under terms of the proposal, the San Jose Arena Management company would finance and operate the 83,000-square-foot facility, leasing 10 acres of the parkland for $1 on lease terms yet to be negotiated. The organization operates all of the facilities associated with the Sharks, including the HP Pavilion where the hockey team plays, and "Sharks Ice" rinks in San Jose and Fremont which are similar to what the group plans for Pleasanton.
Jon Gustafson, general manager of the Fremont facility, said the Sharks Ice rinks offer everything related to any type of ice sports. These include both competitive and amateur hockey; hockey and skating teams for boys, girls, men and women; special ice hockey programs for the local high schools; figure skating and recreational skating.
"We'll have competitive meets that will draw crowds from throughout the region, adding to the economic benefits to this community," he said.
The Sharks affiliate also would help finance the development of the remaining 7 acres of the park, which have been eyed for lighted baseball and soccer diamonds. Part of the parkland could also be used for senior sports, such as bocce ball courts, as part of a 600-unit Continuum Senior Care facility also planned for Staples Ranch.
Staples Ranch II, as it is legally called, is a 124-acre undeveloped site bordered by Pleasanton homes where West Las Positas ends at Kirkaldy Street, the freeway, El Charro Road and land to the south that is part of the Livermore Airport flight path.
Last April, the city negotiated a deal with Alameda County, which owns Staples, to annex the property as parcels are approved and sold for the senior care facility and a new Auto Mall. As part of the agreement, the county would continue to control a stretch of land at the end of Stoneridge Drive that would allow its extension through Staples to El Charro if a future City Council would favor the project.
All five members of the current council are opposed to extending Stoneridge, although they have not formally voted on that decision.
Although the ice rink won favorable votes from Mayor Jennifer Hosterman and three others on the council, Councilman Matt Sullivan voted against it, calling Tuesday night's process "backwards." He said the city Parks and Recreation Commission had yet to plan the 17-acre park or to solicit public views on what should be placed there.
"It seems like we are carving out this piece to go forward and then asking the Parks and Rec Commission what they want to do with the rest of it," Sullivan said. "We're setting up expectations in the community for this hockey rink when we haven't even thought about what should go on the site."
But others called the proposed arena a perfect fit for the Staples site "This seems like the perfect sports facility and we have a place for it to go," said Councilman Jerry Thorne, who encouraged the Shark's affiliate to seek Pleasanton's approval. "I'm very excited about it. It looks like a real win-win for everybody."
Gustafson said Sharks Ice would offer a wide range of programs from competitive ice skating, hockey and trilling, which is like bocce on ice and fast-becoming a popular sport in Europe.
"I think this will be the crown jewel in ice for Pleasanton," Gustafson said.
If the proposed facility is approved by the Parks and Recreation and Planning commissions, the final plan would be considered again by the council, possibly as early as next year.
One stumbling block identified in Tuesday's meeting is how the public would reach the ice rink. If it is accessible only along a stub of Stoneridge Drive extended to the park and ice rink, others from outside Pleasanton would also have to use city streets to reach the facility. If its main entrance is off El Charro Road, Pleasanton customers would have to travel out Santa Rita, east on I-580 and then south on El Charro to the rink.