Berkeley Iceland's Future

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by 2sk8, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. 2sk8

    2sk8 Active Member

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    Berkeley Iceland's Future is the Subject of a Re-zoning Vote Tuesday Night, 9/11
    Re-zoning Would be "Tragic"


    http://www.contracostatimes.com/con...ts-berkeley-icelands-rezoning-would-be-tragic

    This rink, currently in disrepair, has a long history in Berkeley, CA and in the skating community. Some approvals have already been issued, and the rink may soon be replaced by a "big box" sporting goods store.

    While we can't all vote in Berkeley, CA, it would be great for the skating community to show some support for the tireless folk who have been fighting the battle to get this rink back into shape and operating.:respec:

    There's a long history to their efforts - lots of info about the rink & their efforts at

    www.saveberkeleyiceland.org

    Please pass this on & show them some support however you can!
     
  2. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    I skated at that rink back in 98 when I visited the US. It was a lovely rink. I hope it can survive.
     
  3. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

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    The information on the Save Berkeley Iceland webpage seems to indicate that the Zamboni family owns the rink. Is that correct?
     
  4. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    With such a history it would be a shame to lose it! And I swear rink owners don't understand how much money can be made off of things connected to the rink--food & drink, pinball machines, video games, etc. Off-ice fitness, too. There are all KINDS of opportunities besides on-ice activities.
     
  5. 2sk8

    2sk8 Active Member

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    It is my understanding also that the Zamboni family owns the building and wants to sell it, but I don't know for sure.
     
  6. Lacey

    Lacey Well-Known Member

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    So, is there even more profit in selling the building than in running it as a rink. Sad.
     
  7. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, when the land is that valuable. . . it is. The sad fate of many beautiful buildings in this country.
     
  8. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

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    It wasn't lovely in its last years. The floor boards by the ice surface were rotted, the ice was marginal and many seats were missing/broken/rotting.

    IMO the Bay Area doesn't really need another rink and the area that the rink is in, in particular, doesn't need an ice rink. It's a poor neighborhood whose kids can't afford figure skating as a hobby and who would benefit greatly from the free classes and other community outreach programs that Sports Basement runs out of all their stores.

    The "Save Berkeley Iceland" group keeps calling Sports Basement a "big box store" to make you think it's something like a Wal-mart coming in there. But Sports Basement is a local chain and all their stores become part of the community. They start running clubs and organize group bike rides and have free exercise classes and free public speakers.

    They also try to maintain the character of whatever space they take over. For example, the one that took over the old Frys Electronics space has an ESC key from the old Frys on their exit door and other computer-ish decor. so they would definitely keep some of the history of Berkeley Iceland alive on their walls and decor.

    They would be an excellent neighbor and member of the Berkeley community IMO and I think trying to keep them out is a combination clinging to the past and elitism.
     
  9. 2sk8

    2sk8 Active Member

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    Yes, but not lovely in the last years is the fault of the current owners and perhaps the city's failure to enforce its own property maintenance codes - especially since it has been closed. That really shouldn't be used as a basis for changing the allowed use of the property (recreational to commercial retail). I think that's a very different issue.

    I've got nothing against Sports Basement, but really wonder if a commercial enterprise running some recreational programs to increase sales should be considered the equivalent of a recreational facility that serves the needs of the kids in the area you are referring too. I hope the community really gets to weigh in on that before it is a done deal, and there are plenty of great examples of skating programs around the country that serve the type of community you are referring to. There is even a program in Oakland, right?

    Also, I think they would have to maintain the "character" because the building does have an historic designation, right?

    As to the need for ice rinks in the area generally, Sharks was looking at other locations so I guess that really would be a business decision of potential new owners, so I doubt nostalgia or elitism would come into that.

    I hope there is a way to preserve the rink and provide great programs for kids in the area, but even if it isn't a functioning rink, I think it's really sad to give up a recreational facility for another store, no matter how great the store might be.

    Regardless, I still think the people working on this deserve a lot of credit for making the efforts they have. Based on their web page, they have even cleaned up the outside, while the owners let it be a mess!
     
  10. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

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    The point is whomever buys that property has a mess to clean up. They aren't tearing down a beautiful, pristine rink, a jewel of the community.

    The community -- as in the people who live right around the rink -- are not the ones trying to save the rink. It's people who grew up with the rink and have fond memories of it most of whom live elsewhere.

    I'm not sure it does, actually. (The last thing SBI tried with regard to historical designations was rejected.)

    But even if it doesn't, Sports Basement's policy is to maintain the character of the spaces they take over. They will include some historical memorabilia from Berkeley Iceland and other touches when they remodel. I generally use the one in Sunnyvale (our triathlon club meets there -- lots of clubs meet there as they are not just offering a few free things to get customers but try to be an active and positive force in any community they are in) which used to be a Frys. Even after 4 years of stopping by more than once a month, I'm still finding little touches left over from Frys that they have either kept or added so that there is a bit of history preserved.

    But they haven't bought or really expressed interest in this particular property. I think that says something about the needs of the area and the viability of that space as an ice rink.

    And SBI has been around for years (6 or 7?) and has only raised a fraction of the money needed. Which means that basically all they've done is make it difficult for the owner to sell without providing any reasonable alternative.

    Personally, I think their time would be better served working with SB to make that store a shrine to their memories and volunteering with recreational programs in the area geared to disadvantaged youth.
     
  11. 2sk8

    2sk8 Active Member

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    Thanks for describing the local disagreements on this property. As one who supports skating though, I still give a lot of credit to those who try to get a rink back up and running - not really any different than the other rink whose story was just posted that they may not open because the wiring was stolen. Different circumstances, but still efforts to support development of the sport at all levels - I don't find that elitist in the least. I also don't find the Sharks position particularly relevant vis-a-vis a given location - it may not fit their business model, but that doesn't mean there isn't another viable operating model.

    I do hope the entire Berkeley community finds a constructive solution.
     
  12. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

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    I thought it was fine at first. But it's been over 5 years and they haven't got the money to even buy the place let alone operate it successfully. At some point you have to move on.