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Pleasanton's outdoor holiday ice rink is history—at least for this year.

Original post made on Sep 20, 2010

The City Council at its meeting tomorrow night is expected to agree with a recommendation by City Manager Nelson Fialho and his staff to put the outdoor holiday skating rink on ice for this season.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, September 20, 2010, 7:57 AM

Comments (31)

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Posted by Timothy T
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 20, 2010 at 8:31 am

Oh, also, it was incredibly freakin' ugly. Though it seemed some families were there having fun, it looked like something at a bad carnival and definitely not worth costing us $50K.


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Posted by shannon
a resident of Stoneridge Orchards
on Sep 20, 2010 at 8:38 am

It was definately the location. Unfortunately, the Domus Parking lot would have been the very best location. Or the parking lot of Round Table on main street. Ideal for skating and then shopping and eating. The structure last year definately was not worth 50k!


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Posted by Stan
a resident of Beratlis Place
on Sep 20, 2010 at 9:07 am

Yeah, nice try but it never looked fun, wrong location and style. Also quite a waste in terms of energy and such to run the equipment to maintain ice.


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Posted by downtowner
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 20, 2010 at 9:46 am

One of the main reasons the ice skating did poorly was because there was bad word-of-mouth press. It got around quickly that the ice was always melted (often with a huge puddle in the middle) and it just wasn't worth the high price. I would be a big fan and supporter if it was nice, good quality and well run. If it does go into the wayside park area downtown, they'll really need to make it better looking.


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Posted by they were warned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 20, 2010 at 9:58 am

Fiahlo and Hosterman were told, by many people, that the rink would lose money and the city would end up eating it. Did that stop them??? Hell no. As recently as May, Hosterman was heard telling a community member that the rink was going into the park this year "whether the neighbors like it or not". Gee Jennifer, not such a good idea to shoot off your mouth like that was it?
Fiahlo and his supporters insisted that not only would the city spend no money (all costs would be reimbursed by the Sharks) but the excess money would go to the schools. Since he now admits that the city is out $50,000 (wanna bet how much more it really is?) perhaps he could donate that amount from his inflated salary so that his bad decision does not get funded by the taxpapers.


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Posted by Maja7
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Sep 20, 2010 at 10:10 am

I, too, remember hearing/reading somewhere that the ice rink would not impose a loss for the City. Now, what? I love how it was thrown into the mix that the lack of success was due to the warm weather! There's always an excuse. It was doomed from the beginning because no one wanted it to be near them (NIMBY) but were looking forward to the increased patronage to downtown business. And, to be blunt it was an ugly rink and an eyesore to the library parking lot.

Oh well, they tried. They failed. It wasn't their money so what do they care?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 20, 2010 at 10:11 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Considering what surrounding communities pay their City Managers, "inflated" is not a word I'd use. Without more comparative data from a wider scope though, it is difficult to evaluate.

Web Link


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 20, 2010 at 10:16 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Pleasanton's downtown design is not conducive to these kinds of activities. There's no central and pedestrian-friendly large public plaza in the middle of downtown that one can find in many places in Europe. We'd have to tear down a block of buildings between Main and St. John to create one but that may look out of proportion to the rest of downtown then. Downtown is not really THAT big.


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Posted by Ann
a resident of Del Prado
on Sep 20, 2010 at 11:06 am

Was excited thinking an outdoor skating rink, but it's overall appearance was very disappointing esp. when compared to the one Dublin had.
Seems like it was just thrown together.


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Posted by I told you so
a resident of Castlewood
on Sep 20, 2010 at 11:21 am

I told the city last year and I will say it again now, if the S.J. Sharks want to promote hockey fans, let them take on the expense of promoting. Why does the free spending City of Pleasanton have to take on this expense?


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Posted by Mr. Cranky
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 20, 2010 at 11:25 am

Is a "casual" outdoor ice rink (as opposed to a purpose-built, professionally staffed facility) even a good idea? When I first heard about this last year it didn't make sense to me. Back east where every other kid is carrying a hockey stick maybe, but in downtown Pleasanton? It struck me as the kind of quaint idea from simpler times that we'd all like to see work, but in reality it just is a non-starter in the hyper-internet 21st century.

Now, if they put on MMA cage-matches or a "Pleasanton's Got Talent" competition, that'd be another story. There'd be a lot of harumphing, but it would be *packed*. Maybe a giant HALO LAN party...


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Posted by Scott Walsh
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Sep 20, 2010 at 11:33 am

The idea was good to enhance something for kids and families to do. This Council and community leadership is so "Downtown" focused that they forget the other parts of town that this project might have worked in. I am sick of hearing about Downtown (banks and restaurants) and would like some emphasis on some of the businesses and the community recreation that exist elsewhere in town. Wait till you see the operating costs for the $10 million Firehouse Arts Theater if they will even share that info next year......


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Posted by Alix
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 20, 2010 at 11:46 am

It made going to the library not worth going to the library.


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Posted by Carol
a resident of Mohr Park
on Sep 20, 2010 at 11:56 am

Oh my so much anger. My expectations were to provide a new experience for my grandchildren and that was accomplished. An otherwise timid unsure child got out on the ice and an hour, skated with increased confidence. He was so proud of himself. Great experience.


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Posted by Mr. Cranky
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 20, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Carol, I don't see anger here (certainly not compared to most threads on the PW.) What I do see are a lot of pragmatic comments. I bet your experience was very common: the ice rink was a nice way to spend an hour for one kid. The problem is, that type of experience is not going to generate enough revenue to cover the cost. The reason we get frustrated with this kind of "great experience" is that all of us residents subsidized your grandson's "great experience" - whether we wanted to or not - and we were told this wouldn't cost us anything.


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Posted by Skate
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 20, 2010 at 2:54 pm

To the extent that any Pleasanton function loses money...shouldn't the Mayor and City Council individually be held financially responsible for their malfeasance?

Just asking!


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Posted by SkateHasaGoodIdea
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Sep 20, 2010 at 3:56 pm

I think Hosterman should reimburse the citizens and write a check to the city for $55,000.00 that was squandered.


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Posted by lessismore
a resident of Castlewood
on Sep 20, 2010 at 4:11 pm

The Community Park on First Street would have been the best place for the rink. My kids went a few times with friends and had a lot of fun. Nevertheless, very typical of our city council a few of there friends cry and nothing is done. If you ask me, the whole city council is to blame for wasting 50k and not pushing to have the rink is the first location. Last time I checked Pleasanton was a family friendly city, to bad our city leader but the interest of a few in front of the rest.


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Posted by Positive thinking Downtown resident
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 20, 2010 at 10:42 pm

It's sad.

Instead of fond memories for kids, families, and adults we have dark parks and empty parking lots to look forward to this winter. Luckily, I took advantage last year, an opportunity to capture/make a memory with my son, wife and friends. We fought to move it from the library location but in the end, the cranky's won out..."we don't want the noise downtown", "too many cars downtown".....


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Posted by they were warned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 20, 2010 at 11:15 pm

"the cranky's won out..."we don't want the noise downtown", "too many cars downtown"...."
This has nothing to do with the objections. The park location would have been at a corner with no stop light for the crosswalk. How much money might the city have paid out if a child was hit, in the dark, crossing the busiest street in Pleasanton to go to an attractive nuisance provided by the city? The grass would have been killed and the city would have been on the hook for that expense. The whole thing was ill advised and pushed through by Fiahlo and Hosterman as a way to pander to the downtown merchants. Pleasanton is not just about the downtown businesses, it is about what is right for everyone. The skating rink was a waste of money and the city knew that from the beginning. They forced it on us and we now get to pay for it.
As it has been suggested several times on this blog, the mayor and the city manager should have to pay out of their pociets for such a dumb decision.


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Posted by LikeIt!
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2010 at 5:11 am

The idea of having the city manager and mayor pay the loss of the $50,000 dollars is a great idea! And an apology to the city to go with that payment as well. If the downtown had more to offer to everyone in the community, other than all those the salons and overpriced boutiques, then wasteful ideas like the rink would have never been necessary. Kind of sad how the whole thing backfired.


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Posted by Ptownresident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2010 at 8:40 am

Why not put it INSIDE the empty DOMUS building, and then you have parking right next door - at least it won't be closed all the time due to the rain.......and its central to downtown. If there is no perfect outdoor spot, this might be a temporary solution.

We need something for FAMILIES during the HOLIDAYS.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 21, 2010 at 9:21 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Likeit,

So, do you think that Karla Brown should pony up the legal fees for Pleasanton's defense against the Lins' new suit?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 21, 2010 at 9:24 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Or, look at it this way, was the decision CRIMINAL? Are you saying that Fialho and the Council knowingly and _criminally_ made this decision that cost the City?


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Posted by they were warned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2010 at 9:30 am

Stacey -- isn't there a legal term known as "criminally stupid"? So there you have it, Fiahlo and Hosterman are on the hook for the money because they are criminally stupid. And yes, Karla should also be forced to reimburse the city. Too many lawsuits, too many rich lawyers, too little real progress.


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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2010 at 10:19 am

Now that we hear that the San Ramon and Livermore City Managers and making at least twice what they should be in salary (~$350k/yr), not to mention the outrageous pension plans, it begs the question. What is Nelson Fialho's salary? If its more than $150k, that's all the more reason to throw the Hippie Mayor, Cook-Callio, and Thorne out on their butts.


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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2010 at 10:21 am

What's with the Verification Codes we now have to fill in to post a message? Are those linked to your Internet port code so Ol' Jeb can figure out who is posting?


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Posted by LiUs
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2010 at 10:35 am

I keep saying the Sports Park would be the ideal location!


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Stoneridge
on Sep 21, 2010 at 12:55 pm

When I wrote to the Weekly wondering why the rink handn't been placed in our new Bernal Park, I was told that the local businesses objected to that location.

Now that the library location lost money, where are the businesses with apologies and $50,000 to make up the lost city funds?

I still maintain that the Bernal Park location is ideal. Plenty of parking, plenty of space and plenty of electricity. In addition, there's a nice playground for the kids that don't skate to play on. We might even be able to put up a nicer facility than Dublin, and draw far more crowds.

Perhaps local businesses could put up booths and sell snacks, hot chocolate, coffee, etc.

A skating rink doesn't need to be steps from downtown to draw people into the downtown. It simply needs to put people in a holiday mood, and encourage people to make a day of it. I think Bernal Park would do it. Now why is everyone stuck on an undoable downtown location???


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Stoneridge
on Sep 21, 2010 at 6:31 pm

One more point in favor of Bernal Park. The park is clearly visible from the freeway, and with the lights on at night, I'm sure some commuters would take notice and bring their families later.

This could become a new tradition, if the downtown businesses were willing to foot some of the bill...


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 21, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Steve wrote: "Perhaps local businesses could put up booths and sell snacks, hot chocolate, coffee, etc."

What, like a German Christmas market? That'd be great!


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