San Jose Sharks subsidiary will open downtown ice skating rink in mid-November

Outdoor rink at Delucchi Park could attract 30,000 skaters during 2-month season

Pleasanton officials have announced that a subsidiary of the San Jose Sharks will install and operate an outdoor ice skating rink at Delucchi Park in downtown Pleasanton, with skating scheduled to start in mid-November and last until early January.

City Manager Nelson Fialho said San Jose Arena Management (SJAM) will design, build and operate the rink, with the city providing additional electrical and other infrastructure improvements as needed, but with SJAM assuming all other costs, including all liability. SJAM also also will provide staff needed to manage and operate the rink and was given the right to seek sponsors for the temporary seasonal facility as well as individual skating events.

Delucchi, which already has public restrooms, is located on First Street between Angela and Neal streets, backs onto downtown's commercial district and is next to Farmers Market. It is also used during the summer to accommodate overflow crowds at the Friday night concerts in the park at Lions Wayside Park on the other side of Neal, and for Thursday night movies in the park during the summer months.

The downtown park replaces an earlier site that was considered for a portion of the Civic Center and public library parking lots on Old Bernal Avenue. The Library Commission objected to closing its parking lot for as much as two months during the skating period and downtown merchants urged the city to consider a site closer to their stores.

"We think this will be a very good location and a great event for Pleasanton," City Manager Nelson Fialho said yesterday. "We expect it will bring many families downtown, both to skate as well as to dine and shop."

Downtown merchants, led by Towne Center bookstore owner Judy Wheeler of the Pleasanton Downtown Association and Melanie Sadek of Murphy's Paw on Main Street, earlier praised the city's plan to provide outdoor ice skating during the busy holiday shopping season. They said the 20,000-30,000 skaters and their families who are projected to use the rink would help boost business at downtown restaurants, shops and services.

"We're committed to making this work," Sadek said. "As a business owner and mother, I believe that bringing the Sharks rink to downtown Pleasanton will be fantastic."

The agreement with SJAM to operate a downtown rink was previously approved by the City Council 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."

Although plans for an auto mall and senior care center have been approved for Staples Ranch, SJAM and the city are still negotiating a ground lease for the Shark subsidiary's plan for the ice arena.

Mayor Jennifer Hosterman and the three other council members who voted to allow the downtown outdoor skating rink called it 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 $20,000 in up-front costs for additional electrical power, water and voice/data lines, including temporary signage, to be reimbursed by ticket sales and sponsorships arranged by SJAM.

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Like this comment
Posted by Chris Miller
a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Jul 21, 2009 at 8:26 am

Thank you Sharks--thank you City of Pleasanton staff and City Council for making this all happen. It will be great for Pleasanton families, the businesses of Downtown Pleasanton and for the great City of Pleasanton---we are a great place to live.

Like this comment
Posted by Sue
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jul 21, 2009 at 9:43 am

Wow, what a great city we all live in. This sounds like a great plan and will help out the downtown merchants and restaurants. The holidays are a great time to be in downtown and now with an icerink it will be that much more special! Thank you Sharkies! :-)

Like this comment
Posted by Doc Feel Good
a resident of Val Vista
on Jul 21, 2009 at 10:20 am

OK OK ... Its good for business, but as Matt stated, we are in a conflict of interest. They SJAM is doing this for their benefit on negotiations for Staples Ranch.. And we all know this...

Its the FREE MARKET way, if you cant get what you want easy... add a CARROT to the mix.

Looks like we got our 'Holiday Carrot'.... and SJAM will get what they want at Staples Ranch...

Like this comment
Posted by Recall Sullivan
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jul 21, 2009 at 11:51 am

Matt Sullivan is simply the Grinch. How could anyone take something so positive and put such a negative spin on it.....

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Posted by Patricia
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 21, 2009 at 4:56 pm

Hooray! Every year, we and a few other families make a trip to San Jose, to Walnut Creek, or into San Francisco for a holiday skating excursion, followed by dinner and maybe a little shopping. I'm thrilled that, this year, we can do it all right here in Pleasanton. And I, for one, love carrots! (And I think the new ice rink at Staples is a good idea, too!)

Like this comment
Posted by Common Sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2009 at 10:58 pm

Doc Feel Good,

Only those who have chosen to be uninformed will not understand that SJAM has an interest in Staples Ranch. Do you believe that business should not take advantage of opportunities to advance their interests?

I do not think it is realistic to believe that any legitimate business entity would take the risk associated with an ice rink without a corresponding potential for a reward.

The discussion related to the development of Staples Ranch is relevant and appropriate. The fallacious reasoning that you employ to attack SJAM and the City Council demeans the public discourse and exposes your position as selfish and positioned to protect the value of your personal real estate investments.

Who is really trying to exploit the FREE MARKET?

Like this comment
Posted by Ice Rink Could be a bad deal
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2009 at 12:15 am

The ice rink near Staples Ranch could end up like the developers promise to build that school, Neals, I think.
You'll recall the developer offered to build a school, but reneged, and sued the school district and we ended up paying him millions for his lawyers (who were smarter than ours?), and still never got a school built.
Or it could be like the Oakland Traiters, who milked Oakland and Alameda County, and still are doing it!
The deal is that the city lease the land for like $1, and the sports team runs the rink.
Seems like the deal should include:
free or cheap guaranteed access for Pleasanton residents,
a rent rate that includes a share of the revenue,
help for the Pleasanton schools,
forbids transferring the lease without city approval, and
Specifics on how they maintain the place,
and what happens to the facility if they don't make as much money as they'd hoped.

Like this comment
Posted by chico
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2009 at 6:39 am

yeah Sharks and City Council. this is great for our city, business and our families. i can't wait.

Like this comment
Posted by Ice Pro
a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2009 at 9:44 am

Take a good look at Walnut Creek On Ice and the park site it was located in. Never build ice over a grass area if you want the grass to survive. Even though a "stage" was constructed and the ice surface was 18 inches off grade, the City of Walnut Creek had to completely replace all the soil and turf immediately after the rink was removed due to the destruction of the grass underneath.
Somebody with the city has not thought this situation through and obviously they are not getting proper advice and information.
If there's to be ice in the park, at least put up some real numbers and include the replacement cost to re-establish the grass.
At worst, contact someone who knows what their doing with this very unique type of venue.

Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jul 22, 2009 at 10:18 am

Has anyone even given any thought to the traffic problems with this location? The crowds on Saturday are huge and adding thousands more people on those days is asking for disaster. Where will they park? How many will be hit in the crosswalks as they run across the street? Do the merchants plan to pay for the rehab of the park when this is all over? I think the rink is a great idea, but NOT at that location.

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Posted by Ice Pro Boss
a resident of Foothill High School
on Jul 22, 2009 at 10:56 am

Ice Pro is correct regarding the park in Walnut Creek.
Resident points out the congestion problem that exists at the park location on First St.
Many out of towners will not come to the downtown if they believe that there is no reasonable place to park and will shop where they have more convenient access to retail areas.
This has been a major issue in Walnut Creek and it is my understanding that they would like to find another location close to downtown that does not require the use of the city park.
The idea is to find a location that has all the amenities that encourage "outside" interests to visit your retail district.
The location on First St. is very closely located to the street that will generate a large number of issues for safety, security, parking etc. They'll need to block access to the sidewalks and possible close the street to handle the large crowds associated with these rinks.
I encourage the city to re-consider this operation as I understand that several holiday ice companies are planning rinks in the area and it is unrealistic to believe that their numbers for attendance will be as they claim.
Why are the Sharks recommending a location that will damage city property and create a nightmare for the residents?

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Posted by resident
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jul 22, 2009 at 11:46 am

Thanks Ice Pro Boss for your detailed comments and objections. It is my understanding that the city of Pleasanton and the downtown merchants came up with this dumb idea for the location. We can be certain that the street will not be closed as the Pleasanton traffic engineer goes to any lengths to make the cut-through commute easier for cars and thereby more distasteful for residents. There is no way that putting an "attractive nuisance" at that location is a smart move if only due to the increase in pedestrian traffic. This is where we just had crosswalk lights installed due to danger to pedestrians -- now the city wants to add to that problem? There is no viable parking in this area (watch out residents, your driveways will be blocked by idiots who are frustrated with lack of parking). There is far too much traffic already on First Street. The Saturday Market will likely suffer as well when locals decide to forgoe fighting the excessive crowds. What is the upside of this location? Closer to the merchants, nothing else. If the merchants are trying to alienate residents, who already shop and spend money downtown, this is a good move. Make our lives more difficult and we will take all of our money elsewhere.
I live far enough up the hill that my neighborhood will not likely be greatly disturbed. But I will not, ever, shop downtown if it means traversing these crowds for a rink that will cost us money and jam our streets. Pick another location!

Like this comment
Posted by Pick another location!
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Jul 22, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Why not put it at the Stoneridge dead end?

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Posted by Mary
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Jul 22, 2009 at 2:13 pm

I agree with the comment from the resident about the traffic problems, someone getting injured there. Not a choice location for something like this....Not only do you have those wanting to skate, but all those wanting to just would great to have, but another location would be so much better....Please rethink the location.

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Posted by trekmtb
a resident of Heritage Oaks
on Jul 22, 2009 at 2:22 pm

What a great idea to help support our downtown! This is a great location also. The traffic at any one time would not come close to that of the Friday Night Concerts or the Farmer's market.

Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jul 22, 2009 at 5:42 pm

"The traffic at any one time would not come close to that of the Friday Night Concerts or the Farmer's market." Say what? The traffic will be ***in addition to*** the Farmer's market traffic.
How much inconvenience should the people of this town put up with to attempt to drive business to downtown? I currently shop downtown whenever possible but that will come to an abrupt halt if the merchants and the city cram this location down our throats. If the merchants want more business they need to sell products that are wanted and needed at a competetive price with good service. There is probably not one thing available downtown that cannot be found for less money either at a big box store or online. However, I still try to support the downtown by shopping carefully while enjoying the ambiance which makes the time more enjoyable. That will not be the case if we are forced to endure parking problems and excessive crowds on one of the busiest streets in Pleasanton. The city (us actually) will be left with a large expense to replace the grass. Where will the merchants be then? The residents in the immediate area will be left with a bad feeling about the complete disruption of their lives for the duration of the holiday season. How would you like to live in the house at the corner of First and Angela? Why would we choose to patronize merchants that were the cause of that?
This rink could be a really good thing -- but NOT at that location. Come on City Council, don't turn a good thing into a stupid move. Pick a better location.

Like this comment
Posted by trekmtb
a resident of Heritage Oaks
on Jul 23, 2009 at 11:15 am

I would hardly think that the Ice Rink hours would overlap with those of the Farmer's Market. I actually live just a few blocks away from Delucchi Park (3rd and Neal) and I look forward to the Rink and what it brings to the downtown. Also we shouldn't jump to conclusions on how the city is dealing with the grass. I would hope that they took that under consideration.

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Posted by trekmtb
a resident of Heritage Oaks
on Jul 23, 2009 at 11:18 am

I do see that there is a short overlap with the Farmer's Market on Saturdays. Maybe tweak the Ice Rink hours?

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Posted by chris
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Why not the fairgrounds? Sufficient space and Parking..Why not the huge undeveloped open space across the street from the fairgrounds, it could be a Holiday Skate/themed deal? "Christmas is the Park" in San Jose....Why choose the tiny little park on 1st street.....bad idea....

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Posted by Paul
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Jul 23, 2009 at 10:18 pm

This is a bad location no doubt.
The City Council approved the holiday ice, but it's the City Manager responsible for this blunder. On paper, the idea is a good one except that and this city that claims to be promoting "GREEN" technologies and strict building codes in the new Firehouse Arts Center and other City of Pleasanton facilities to then turn and fund the expense of providing power for a skating venue that uses nearly a megawatt of power. All this to support a commercial enterprise by an affiliate of the San Jose Sharks in their efforts to build a four rink facility at Staples Ranch. As Mr. Sullivan has stated, there is a conflict of interest and I believe this qualifies. As a resident, I begin to question if there is a double standard allowed when the almighty dollar is falling short. So let's add things up just for kicks. City to provide a peoples park which will be damaged in use and will require repair. Power for the skating venue. Traffic and Safety problems according to Resident which is probably accurate, No liability risk to the City of Pleasanton. Oh yeah. If somebody suffers a catastrophic event on that ice, I'm pretty certain that the City of Pleasanton will be on the hook. The City has a general liability coverage that covers their parks for any incident, so they are always at risk. Is the ice rink going to be under a cover, and if not, who will be financially responsible for the losses which could be massive. Commercial ice rinks should not operate at the expense of any city. Its really a shame that this City has decided to sell itself out. Shame on the City management for this blunder and the conflict of interest.

Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Jul 23, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Mr. Sullivan is right about the Sharks Ice proposal for a ground lease. It should be located as close as possible to downtown if they want to bring outsiders and local residents downtown.
Here's another conflict of interest blooming. Approve the Sharks Ice at Staples Ranch and watch more people leave downtown to go out to Staples Ranch to do their shopping. WOW!
Here'an idea that my good friend Mr. Block from Golden Eagle once brought to the City of Pleasanton several years ago.
Build an ice center on the Bernal Park Phase II. The man is a genious. If the City staff and City Council are unable to recognize the "Block Solution" they are really saying that they are willing to let the downtown suffer by approving the Staples Ranch location.
This is going to be a great show. Pull up your lounger and bring the popcorn.

Like this comment
Posted by Shame On Pleasanton
a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2009 at 9:01 am

As I sit here in the lobby at Iceland in Dublin, waiting for my grand daughter to skate today, I recall so many memorable times skating here over the past 30 years. As a long time skater in this community, it is very troubling to see our town making decisions that will cause Iceland to go out of business after building a skating culture in the Tri-Valley. What a shame.
How can the City of Pleasanton allow a company to build a 4 ice rink skating facility and put out another ice rink business?
I agree with some of the commentary to say that this town has sold out and its character is now flawed.
I certainly will not shop in Pleasanton as I've done for over 3 decades should this nonsense continue.
Its time for the city to consider some changes to restore our town's reputation and image instead of destroying it.

Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jul 24, 2009 at 9:45 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I suppose we should start blaming Dublin now for taking away Pleasanton's movie theatre?

Like this comment
Posted by chico
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2009 at 9:49 am

nothing happens in this town without a complaint. sheesh.

Like this comment
Posted by Chris
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 24, 2009 at 4:43 pm

Another thought? All these wonderful concerts in the park, ice skating rinks, etc are wonderful....They should be held at different locations each week....Why not allow the entire city of Pleasanton and our neighbors enjoy by changing locations, moving things around. there are so many wonderful parks to accommodate this with plenty of room, parking, etc. Dublin has a wonderful concert in the Park as well, better bands, roomy...just saying can't we be more flexible....

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Jul 28, 2009 at 5:29 pm

I think it's wonderful to bring a skating rink to Pleasanton - not so sure about the holiday rink in the downtown. I think that money could be better spent regardless of whose money it is. Also, if the downtown is to prosper it seems that something more permanent is necessary. A movie theater or skating rink would be great. What about on the Bernal property. We don't really need more park space or baseball fields....maybe a permanent business within walking distance of downtown would be more useful to everyone. Also, there would be room for a parking area there - whereas there's very limited parking downtown. However, in the end, I'm all for any activities that get families out of the house and away from the television/computer.

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

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