Pleasanton council axes ice rink for this year's holiday season

Both San Jose Sharks, city lost money as rink failed to attract sponsors, enough skaters

As expected, the Pleasanton City Council voted 4-0 last night to suspend for at least a year the holiday ice rink operation that occupied part of the public library parking lot for six weeks over the past Thanksgiving-to-New Year's period.

Councilman Matt Sullivan was absent from the meeting.

The rink, installed and operated by San Jose Arena Management, a subsidiary of the San Jose Sharks hockey team, never met expectations, with ticket sales and sponsorships failing to cover its $292,000 in operating costs. Receipts instead totaled $217,000.

City Manager Nelson Fialho said the city government and the Sharks spent about $100,000 in capital expenditures to set up the facility n the public library's parking lot last November, including providing supplies, equipment and security services. Although the special utility needs remain in place, those costs would be incurred again if a site other than the library lot is used for a future ice rink.

"If there had been a profit in the operation, our agreement with SJAM spelled out clearly that the city would have been reimbursed for energy and security costs that we paid," Fialho said. "Also, if there had been a profit, 10% of the revenue would have been paid back to the city for the cost of personnel and other expenses. If there had been a profit after that, the remainder would have been distributed to nonprofit organizations. That didn't happen."

The portable rink, owned by SJAM, is being stored at the city's Operations Center in Pleasanton. The city's agreement with the Sharks is that the rink can be acquired by the city after five years if it's wanted.

Fialho said the library parking lot was chosen after owners of two downtown properties—the former Domus store and Round Table Pizza—declined the city's bid to use one of their parking lots for the ice rink.

As an alternative to place the ice rink closer to downtown, it was considered for Delucchi Park, but that proposal was withdrawn due to neighborhood complaints over potential noise and traffic at that site.

"In hindsight, that was a good decision," Fialho said. "We had never had experience having an ice rink here and we probably would have had to rebuild the park after the rink sat on the park grass for six weeks."

Although the rink was intended to serve as an economic stimulus to downtown stores and restaurants, it also failed to meet those goals with the library lot too far from the business centers on Main Street.

Fialho said Dublin's ice rink, which was located in a Toyota dealer's used car lot, proved to be a more attractive rink with Dublin viewing it as a community service, not a retail store stimulus.

He suggested Bernal Community Park as a possible future site for an ice rink, although SJAM rejected that location for this year as too remote. SJAM also declined offers to locate this year's rink at the Alameda County Fairgrounds or in a parking lot section of the Stoneridge Shopping Center because of high land use rents required by those organizations.

"I'm disappointed," said Mayor Jennifer Hosterman. "I thought the ice rink was a great opportunity for Pleasanton."

Councilwomen Cheryl Cook-Kallio and Cindy McGovern also said they were sorry to see the rink canceled for this season. Both talked about how excited their grandchildren were to be on the ice and try ice skating for the first time.

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


Like this comment
Posted by Julia
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 22, 2010 at 8:54 am

Just a sign of the times...we the people need to pull back on non-essentials and realize life is not always a bowl of cherries.

Spend money on what is needed, not simply what you want.

And don't forget in November to vote all the incumbents OUT and start fresh...this is the only way change will happen.

Julia from Alamo

PS...does anyone know why the the PW inserted a verification code

Like this comment
Posted by not that location
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 22, 2010 at 10:25 am

from Fiahlo "In hindsight, that was a good decision," Fialho said. "We had never had experience having an ice rink here and we probably would have had to rebuild the park after the rink sat on the park grass for six weeks."
Funny how that objection, and many others, were outlined to Fiahlo in writing when he tried to force the rink into the park. He had the benefit of foresight and failed to use it, he finally bent to the pressure of people with more ability to analyze the downside risks to the park location. The primary objection -- which he and the PW continue to overlook -- was safety. The crosswalk at that corner has no stoplight. With people parking on First and Second Streets the kids would have been crossing First St in the dark without a real stoplight. And yes, the park would have needed to be rebuilt. Duh!
Did Fiahlo really enter into a contract that had no provisions for our city to avoid costs unless the SJAM showed a profit? How stupid! Is that how he does business with other vendors? Is this why we pay him $211,000 and he also has multiple assistants (last time I checked it was 4)?
No wonder Pleasanton will be coming to the police and firefighters for givebacks, the managers have spent all the money on things with no economic return.

Like this comment
Posted by pleasantonian
a resident of Del Prado
on Sep 22, 2010 at 2:55 pm

My kids tried out the rink, however once was enough for them. The rink is so much smaller than the indoor rink in Dublin, plus they weren't allowed much skate time. If the rink was set up again this year, it's doubtful they'd go again. Since there is a special setup in place, can it be used for anything else?

Like this comment
Posted by JR
a resident of Danbury Park
on Sep 22, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Too bad. I did not see a lot of ads for it and driving by there didn't seem to be anything to draw interest. Looking forward to the competion of the Sharks rink in Pleasanton.

Like this comment
Posted by Lisa
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2010 at 9:38 pm

As a patron of our library, I felt it was a ridiculous spot . It created more problems than its worth.

Like this comment
Posted by Maria
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 26, 2010 at 1:54 am

I took an out-of-town cousin to the rink one time, but honestly, I will not miss it one bit this year. I would rather have my library, thank you very much.

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

Don't be the last to know

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

Couples: Myth: You Can't Ask Your Partner to Change
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 1,377 views

Sandia Livermore continues growing
By Tim Hunt | 1 comment | 974 views