Council OKs downtown ice rink for holidays

Skating to start Nov. 19 on facility to be installed at part of library parking lot

The City Council Tuesday night approved a five-year contract with a subsidiary of the San Jose Sharks to operate an outdoor ice skating rink near downtown during the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's holiday season, starting this November.

The agreement with San Jose Arena Management calls for the sports firm to design, build and operate the 14,000-square-foot rink, which for this year would be located in a section of the Pleasanton Library parking lot closest to Old Bernal Avenue.

Other sites are under consideration for subsequent years, including parking lots next to Round Table Pizza and the former, now-empty Domus store, both on Main Street. But so far, the owners of those properties have not agreed to allow the ice rink on those parcels.

Downtown merchants, led by Towne Center bookstore owner Judy Wheeler of the Pleasanton Downtown Association and Murphy's Paw on Main Street owner Melanie Sadek of the recently-organized Pleasanton downtown merchants' group, praised the council's action. They said the 20,000-30,000 skaters and their families who are projected to use the rink during the holiday season would help boost business at downtown restaurants, shops and services.

"We're committed to making this work," Sadek told the council. "As a business owner and mother, bringing the Sharks rink to downtown Pleasanton will be fantastic. The merchants will help make the downtown part of the rink, possibly even using horse drawn carriages to transport families back and forth."

The agreement with SJAM was approved in a 4-1 vote with Councilman Matt Sullivan dissenting. He said that the proposed name of the rink—Sharks Holiday Ice—could sway public opinion when the firm's proposed two-story, four-rink ice arena on staples Ranch comes before the council for approval.

"There's an inherent conflict of interest here," Sullivan said. "At the same time we're negotiating this ice rink downtown, which we want very much for our businesses, we are also negotiating an agreement for Staples Ranch. I can't keep them separate and this could, and probably will have a mitigating impact."

"While there are a lot of people who support it (the Staples Ranch ice rink), there are a lot of people who do not want the Shark rink built on Staples and are very concerned about it. If we (the city) want to put this facility downtown on our own, I'd be willing to talk about it."

But Mayor Jennifer Hosterman and the three other council members disagreed, calling the holiday outdoor ice skating rink good for Pleasanton residents and downtown businesses, especially at a time when restaurants and stores are feeling the effects of a slow economy.

City Manager Nelson Fialho said the nearest holiday season outdoor rinks are in Walnut Creek, which attracts as many as 40,000 skaters and their families each year, and in San Francisco and San Jose.

As proposed, the rink would open in mid-November and stay open through early January, with skating available from noon to 10 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays.

The city will pay an estimated $15,000 in up-front costs for electrical power, water and voice/data lines, including temporary signage, to be reimbursed by ticket sales and sponsorships arranged by SJAM.

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by Garry
a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Apr 22, 2009 at 9:25 am

I am so happy that the counsel had the wisdom and leadership to put this wonderful addition in place during the holiday season. GREAT leadership

Like this comment
Posted by Dublinmike
a resident of Dublin
on Apr 22, 2009 at 9:47 am

I think it a pretty cool idea. We went to SF last December to ice skate and our teenage daughter and friends had a great time. Wholesome fun.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 22, 2009 at 9:49 am

This is great! We always go to the one in downtown San Jose because the kids enjoy the outdoor type ice skating during the holiday season, and it is going to be better not to have to drive so far. This is great news.

Like this comment
Posted by Me
a resident of Walnut Hills
on Apr 22, 2009 at 10:33 am

Fantastic! This is great news! Ideas like this are just what the city needs to improve foot traffic downtown.

Like this comment
Posted by unclehomerr..
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 22, 2009 at 12:29 pm

What 'Holiday' are they talking about??? Thanksgiving??


Like this comment
Posted by sk8er
a resident of California Reflections
on Apr 22, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Wow what terrific news. Should be a lot of fun for the kids.

Like this comment
Posted by Old Timer
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Apr 22, 2009 at 9:53 pm

Hurray for the wise members of the City Council for approving the ice rink. It will provide an excellent recreation family venue for Pleasanton residents. As for Sullivan, he continues to be a negative force in such a great city. The reason this town is so great is its reliance on positive people who ask "why not" rather than the Sullivans of the world who say "why should we."

Like this comment
Posted by MoeFamily
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 23, 2009 at 8:14 am

This is great news! Another wonderful reason to live in Pleasanton during the holidays!!! Way to go Council Members!

Like this comment
Posted by Maryann
a resident of Happy Valley
on Apr 23, 2009 at 8:28 am

this is a wonderful idea! our family will be there! with skates on!!

Like this comment
Posted by Mom of 3
a resident of Country Fair
on Apr 23, 2009 at 8:35 am

Mayor Hosterman & council members,

Thank you so much for approving this. If my kids have their way, we will be there every day.

I am so tired of Matt Sullivan being so negative. Can he be recalled?

Like this comment
Posted by Susan
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Apr 23, 2009 at 8:41 am

A skating rink is fine, but the library parking lot is already full most of the time; where will library patrons & skater families park? Seems like it would have been better suited in the Vintage Hills shopping center lot, where there is lots of space and vacancies.

Like this comment
Posted by bel
a resident of Val Vista
on Apr 23, 2009 at 10:09 am

I agree with Susan, the parking lot is normally full.
If they put a rink in there it will displace library patrons parking.

Due to the lack of parking rink and library patrons both will be parking in weird places or places they don't belong like the BofA parking lot.

Like this comment
Posted by Claudette McDermott
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2009 at 10:12 am

Love it! We need things to do for all ages here in Pleasanton and this will work to stimulate activity in the Downtown that we need so badly. The empty grass lot, across from the Library parking lot, seems to be the best placement, without taking away from the parking that is always packed especially when school gets out at 3:00.

Like this comment
Posted by NoFool
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2009 at 10:18 am

Funny that the Sharks want to do a holiday ice rink but won't do anything to help get roller hockey at Val Vista Park back on its feet.
They want to build a major ice center in Pleasanton even though hockey is in decline due to the economy. How much are they going to charge for their expensive ice? Nobody in the city releasing any info on that probably because they know the public would not approve.
With all the empty big box retail space available, why are they not re-developing existing locations that will help end urban blight.
People, you need to see past the smokescreen.

Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 23, 2009 at 10:30 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Considering the price of gas, we've taken a break from ice hockey because we used to drive about an hour one way just to get to the rink. It will be great to have a rink right in town!

BTW, roller hockey just doesn't have the same thrill as playing on ice. I started by playing roller hockey and had so much fun on ice that I have a hard time seeing myself go back.

Like this comment
Posted by No Fool
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2009 at 10:31 am

Forgot to add one thing. Talked with a local ice pro who has reservations on the library location. Seems these outdoor rinks use unbelievable amount of energy. How green is that City of Pleasanton?

Like this comment
Posted by D W
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2009 at 2:15 pm

The positive responses will be proven by the many Sharks-related families who reside here in Pleasanton and will celebrate the official opening when it happens this fall. Of course, one of the families is already out front for their respective TV channels. All kind words about us are welcome.

Like this comment
Posted by Corrupt Council
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Re-call Sullivan? He and McGovern at least have some integrity. The Council majority is bought and paid for. How hard a bargain do you think they will drive with the Sharks for the boondoggle on Staples Ranch? Give me negativity over corruption anytime!

Like this comment
Posted by so you DON'T agree?
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 23, 2009 at 3:03 pm

You don't agree so they are corrupt? To what end? so that they can spend time reading staff reports and responding to constituents concerns? What do you think they are getting out of this? Who is paying them and where is the money going? I have looked at the entire councils' financial report. None of them are making anything being in office. It would not surprised me if it cost them to serve the city. Most live in very modest homes and have worked for a living.

The ice rink will bring 20 to 30 thousand people to downtown in a five week period. That is economic stimulus for our downtown!

Like this comment
Posted by so you DON'T agree?
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 23, 2009 at 3:05 pm

and for the record, it was a 4-1 vote for the ice rink!!!!

Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 23, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Lived in Ptown for 2 decades and worked in the ice arena and rec sports industry for as long as a manager, owner and representative.
Glad to say that I've helped hockey develop here in the Tri-Valley through the programs at Dublin Iceland and the TVMHA.
Offered SJAM my rink services at Xmas to help stem their major staffing problems at a far lower pay grade, thinking it might be a great time to become a part of their organization to build success here in our great community.
How disappointed and heartbroken I was that I never even received a call back from their manager.
Told the GM that was happening and now was going to have to fly back east to meet with another rink management outfit.
Was told to have a good trip by the GM I've known as a friend for about a decade and a guy that I hired for our summer hockey program in Dublin many years ago when he was desperate for work.
Some friend he turned out to be.
"Never received your application".
I suppose you could call it a snub.
I've given them all the support you could possibly ask for.
Spoke on their behalf many times both in Pleasanton First and Park/Rec Commission and City Council meetings.
I guess they have their deal in the bag and don't care about the locals.
Told top city official that I now cannot support their proposed facility due to too many problems with their organization.
After an incident with an employee threat last year, I filed complaint to SJAM management and now I get snubbed for it.
Recently told their upper management about this situation and that there should be some accountability.
To my knowledge, the City of Pleasanton has not hired any outside consultants to review the proposal from SJAM and to gather information from locals who participate in their programs.
I can tell you that I've been their customer for as long as they've operated in Oakland, Fremont and San Jose and would support their management if they show some accountability.
I have only one question for them. When did they decide to treat us this way?
I am doing the honorable thing for this town by providing this information.
If this is what ice skating is coming to in Pleasanton, then count me out.

Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 23, 2009 at 3:25 pm

Put your money on Detroit.

Like this comment
Posted by Corrupt Council
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2009 at 3:42 pm

So you DON'T agree?,

Have you not heard of Campaign Contributions? Otherwise known as legal political bribes (or payment for services rendered - it's a chicken or egg thing). If not, look for yourself on the city web page that contains campaign reports.

Web Link

The dots are so easy to connect a blind person could do it.

Like this comment
Posted by Need web link help
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2009 at 4:22 pm

To corrupt council,
Web link didn't work...please repost.

Like this comment
Posted by Corrupt Council
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2009 at 5:15 pm

To Need web link help:

Try this

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by so you don't agree
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 23, 2009 at 5:31 pm

I have looked...

So council members are taking money to stay in office so they can serve the community??? What is the payback here? The election? Do you know how hard these people work and how difficult it is to balance the competing interests? They all live here too! What contributions are YOU talking about? How cheap do you think these people are????? You think that any one of them would purposely do the community in for a contribution?

They all have taken contributions from various people and groups. Where is this corruption you so easily reference. Again, I think it has to do with, you don't agree you must be corrupt. How about there is civil disagreement?

Like this comment
Posted by Corrupt Council
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2009 at 5:35 pm

So you don't agree:

"You think that any one of them would purposely do the community in for a contribution?" Boy, are you gullible.

Or - maybe your one of 'em and just defending yourself!

Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 23, 2009 at 6:52 pm

Just talked with a concerned neighbor who asked.
How much power do these outdoor ice rinks use?
If the rink is 14,000 square feet as reported above, then they will require about 10 tons of refrigeration per thousand square feet of ice surface. This translates into a substantial investment into an electrical connection to the main and will draw over 1000 amps on full demand. If as reported the City of Pleasanton is chipping in $15K for the electrical, depending on the location of the main and the distance, the cost could go into the $100K range.
Folks, the operations expense of this size of rink for the estimated number of skaters of 20-30K will probably lose money.
Who's covering the losses if this rink bombs which some have and if other cities in region put holiday rinks in this year, as many have looked into, then the whole picture changes.
I understand that there has been no contact made with any ice pro's in the business so where is the city getting its information.
If its from SJAM, I can tell you that they've never operated an outdoor rink before.
Sure looks like a lot of irresponsibility on the part of some city staff to me.

Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 23, 2009 at 7:02 pm

That's 100 tons per 1000 square feet.
Estimated power consumption should be around $40-50K/month.
Wouldn't be surprised to see $20 per head.

Like this comment
Posted by YC (your conscience)
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2009 at 9:00 pm

I know who you are. You are a legend in your own mind. You thought you had the job to run the rink but did'nt even come close to being considered because a good 10 candidates came forth that are nationally reknown, thus more desirable, while you are just a local "yocal". Give it up. I know you are "ticked"; thus the vendeta. Get over it and be a man. If you wish to pout, pout quietly in your own home but leave the beauty and anticipated excitement of the holiday rink and all that it will offer to the public, alone. They deserve it and have earned it.

Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 23, 2009 at 11:30 pm

Your Conscience:
I have been a man and come forth with my identity.Can you do the same as I suspect that you cannot because of your involvement with the SJAM.There is no vendetta here.This town needs information to make intelligent choices.I will say this.SJAM offer nice facilities, but their customer service is horrendous,their restaurant service is poor and after all this time, management continues to operate the same way.Just try and get a return call from any of their staff.Don't file any complaints to help their company or you could face the same treatment I have received.If the Sharks/SJAM are doing so much for youth hockey in Norcal, why is their prospect list only players from the Jr.Sharks? Many of the local talent have gone elsewhere due to the politics of the Jr.Shark program.What a shame.When are they going to really help hockey?As long as there's profit I guess.They've had 10 years to get it going like the programs in Dallas and Phoenix who now have massive high school programs. There are only 12 teams here, and they're all in San Jose.Somebody should be accountable.
I have supported the growth of hockey here and sought out support from SJAM for program development here in this town.Tell me they aren't going to just build it and expect people to walk in, grab a stick and start playing.Have SJAM submitted any community development plans that can be looked at so that the Parks Commission and the people can review? I've got a list of items that are critical to develop here in the Tri-Valley. Did I want the job. You betcha, but they don't care about local yocals.

This community is the finest place to live and we demand the best.

Like this comment
Posted by J. Leslie
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 24, 2009 at 10:45 am

I agree that an outdoor rink right here in town during the holidays could be wonderful fun. But co-opting the library for over 8 weeks for that purpose doesn't make sense. Our library is the most popular, well-used public venue in the city: so let's cut it's parking more than half, jam the surrounding streets with traffic and flood it with thousands looking for bathrooms and somewhere to drop unsupervised kids while the parents go holiday shopping?? And the city has agreed to a 5-year contract with no better options in hand??

We need a different location. Sadly the grass lot across the street from the library is owned by the City of San Francisco, who've shown themselves stubbornly unresponsive to Pleasanton use overtures in the past, so that seems at best a co$tly option to mitigate the inevitable impact. As the Downtown Merchants' Association spearheaded this initiative it seems reasonable to ask that they come up with a more appropriate venue. Failing that, anyone else know of suitable space to suggest?

Again, I agree that the idea of an ice rink in town is great! It just looks like those who decided to sacrific the library and it's thousands of users...are almost certainly not among them.

Like this comment
Posted by Ken in South Pleasanton
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 24, 2009 at 12:34 pm

What is the CARBON FOOTPRINT of this ice rink? It seems that the energy required to keep the rink frozen is not the best use of our natural resources, especially in a town where the average temperature in November and December is in the 60's! For a city that is so concerned about conserving open space, recycling, preventing traffic in family neighborhoods, and numerous other green initiatives to approve this 'play ground' for the benefit of only a small percentage of citizens is a bit off track. Why not use the same amount of energy to heat a vacant building and provide shelter for the homeless during the holidays?

Like this comment
Posted by Sara
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Apr 24, 2009 at 3:09 pm

I agree with J Leslie. The library lot is a poor choice. Were library staff and local library users polled or even consulted? Does the rink come with its own set of bathrooms/port-a-potties?

While San Francisco does not usually seem interested in us out here in the east bay, with Gavin running for governor, he might be willing to donate use of the empty lot in order to get Pleasanton votes.

The idea of the ice rink is great, but going ahead with it before considering the cost, carbon footprint, displacement of library users seems like putting the cart before the horse.

Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Apr 24, 2009 at 3:15 pm

What about locating the ice rink at Shadow Cliffs? Plenty of parking, and not much other use there at that time of year.

Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 26, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Looks like the PW wants this thing to go away quick.
Just an FYI Mrs. Mayor and Mr. City Manager.
Walnut Creek did not spend a dime on the holiday ice rink in the Civic Center Park. Just permitted location use only.
No city should put any of their budget funding forward to these rinks when they are trying to promote a "Green" energy plan.
A community of character. Where? Here?
Never thought that our town would show so much desperation.
You want solutions.
Start listening.

Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 27, 2009 at 8:17 am

Good news folks.
Good friend of mine looking at building an ice arena in the region.
We may not have to wait for too long to have an rink that will charge reasonable fees to play along with our long time friends at Dublin Iceland. Should handle just enough of the demand for ice without having too many rinks with empty ice that will drive the cost to play through the roof.
FYI - Summer Hockey Programs offered by TVMHA are beginning in June and will run through the summer. This is a terrific opportunity for your children to start playing hockey and to enroll in the fall session. TVMHA is well known for developing great hockey talent and recently sent their 18AA team to the National Championships in Pittsburgh. TVMHA is a fully volunteer program and has the best coaches in the east bay so get online at for more information.

Like this comment
Posted by Al. Bronzini
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 27, 2009 at 9:23 am

My applause to the City Council for approving the Holiday Ice Rink, 20 to 30 thousand people Downtown, and who knows, maybe even more. In making this decision you created a much needed stimulus package for Downtown.
Thank you,
Al. Bronzini

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Be the first to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Couples: Reading List
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 1,007 views

New Donlon school is at least four years away
By Tim Hunt | 1 comment | 710 views