Hockey moms have showed up in force at City Council meetings and at the Bridgepointe Shopping Center in recent weeks in an effort to save the Ice Center of San Mateo from imminent closure.
They have marched with signs, said the public process has been non-transparent and insist that even though SPI Holdings, Bridgepointe’s owner, will terminate the lease with the ice rink’s operator that a rink can survive at the location with a new operator.
SPI, however, has withdrawn its pre-application with the city to amend Bridgepointe’s master plan, which calls for a recreational amenity similar to an ice rink on the property.
SPI had previously offered the city a turfed athletic field at any city park in exchange for allowing it to provide the required recreational amenity off site. Company officials have said the rink will be carved up for new retail uses, which will provide the city with more sales tax revenue than it gets from the ice skating crowd.
After the ice rink closes at the end of the month, SPI will take possession of the space and see what shape the building is in and what needs to be done to it.
“We’ll be returning to the city after that with a plan for recreational uses on site or, if the city agrees, an option to move the recreational amenity off site. But it will be a couple of months before we come back with plans,” an SPI consultant wrote in an email to the Daily Journal.
SPI’s Peter Meier sent the city’s Community Development Department a letter stating its desire to withdraw the application a couple weeks ago.
“We are evaluating additional alternative recreation uses that Bridgepointe Shopping Center can provide for the citizens of San Mateo. When we have determined the recreational use or uses that Bridgepointe Shopping Center intends to provide we will be back in touch,” Meier wrote in the letter to the city.
The first public meeting was held on Bridgepointe’s master plan in July 2012. Since then, however, ice rink supporters have accused the city of stalling the remaining required public meetings.
“When this process started, the community truly believed in the transparency of the city processes,” rink supporter Julie McAuliffe wrote in an email. “They thought the city would hold the study sessions, evaluate rink usage, listen to the community input and carefully review and consider the Bridgepointe master plan and requested amendment by SPI. However, the lack of transparency by the city in the review and approval process, and in communication with the public leaves many concerned about governance in San Mateo.”
The ice rink closes Friday, May 31.
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