Pleasanton's outdoor ice skating rink planned for the coming holiday season has been moved from Delucchi Park on First Street back to a portion of the Civic Center and public library parking lots along Old Bernal Avenue.
City Manager Nelson Fialho said the move was made to avoid delays in obtaining new City Council approvals that might have been required after homeowners on the east side of First Street complained about possible noise and traffic congestion at Delucchi, which is located close to their homes.
The ice rink, to be installed and operated by San Jose Arena Management (SJAM), a subsidiary of the San Jose Sharks, will be placed on a platform to be built on top of the parking lanes closest to Old Bernal Avenue. SJAM will pay all costs of building and operating the rink with the city contributing about $20,000 for added power and lighting, costs that will be reimbursed from SJAM profits from ticket sales and sponsorships.
The rink is scheduled to open the weekend before Thanksgiving and close in early January. It would be open to skaters from noon to 10 p.m. daily, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays. School and corporate groups could also reserve ice time in the morning.
Fialho said that when SJAM first approached the city about operating an outdoor ice skating rink in Pleasanton, his hopes were to put the rink in the parking lot next to Round Table Pizza or in another lot next to the now-vacant Domus store, both on Main Street. However, the property owners rejected the request and SJAM, Fialho and his staff started looking at other options.
Although the Civic Center parking lot is farther from centrally-located downtown stores than Delucchi Park, Fialho said it's a suitable site for the first year of the rink. The city and SJAM have signed a five-year contract for a holiday rink and Fialho hopes to persuade Domus or Round Table property owners to allow the rink on one of their parking lots next year.
"The Civic Center was a last choice location, doable," Fialho said, "but not preferred from the standpoint of being less centrally located and visible.
Although the Delucchi Park site was preferred by Fialho and many downtown merchants, several on the City Council indicated they would insist on public hearings and possibly an environmental impact report before agreeing to the park site. Fialho said that could have taken too long to get the ice rink built and operating this year, so he moved the site back to the Civic Center which the council had already approved.
A downtown merchants group has indicated it will sponsor horse-drawn carriage rides from their stores to the ice rink. An estimated 20,000-25,000 skaters and their families are expected to make use of the ice skating rink during the 60-day period it's open. More than 40,000 signed on for skating last year at a similar rink in downtown Walnut Creek.