Hope Remains for San Mateo Ice Skating Rink

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Ice Center at Bridgepointe Shopping Center in San Mateo shut its doors last June, but a large number of people in the community are working to get it open again. Cheryl Hurd reports. (Published Monday, Feb 17, 2014)

    A Peninsula ice skating rink where Olympian Kristi Yamaguchi used to train is closed, but it’s not a done deal.

    The Ice Center at Bridgepointe Shopping Center in San Mateo shut its doors last June, but a large number of people in the community are working to get it open again.

    They say they have the community and a legal process standing behind them.

    For 11-year-old Owen Christensen, seeing the Bridgepointe Ice Rink shutdown is not a good feeling.

    “I just thought of when I first played my first hockey game,” Owen said.

    When a hockey game played last June turned out to be Owen’s last time playing on the ice in San Mateo, parents like Jeremy Verba vowed to fight to get the skating rink reopened.

    “We’re not giving up,” Verba said. “This is something that’s important to the community.”

    The parents are trying to hold on to that Olympic dream and continue to try and convince SPI Holdings, a San Francisco real estate company, to renew the rink’s lease and say no to more retail stores on the property.

    Their efforts failed last June. Zoning rules are standing in the developers’ way.

    San Mateo City Councilman David Lim says the developer has to make the next move.

    “An owner might be restricted to building a similar story house on the property and that’s all they can build on it,” Lim said. “If they choose to build nothing, they can leave it empty as long as they want. That’s what the owners is currently doing.”

    That leaves people like Kimberly Diaz frustrated. Her son refuses to skate now that Bridgepointe is closed.

    “It’s so important for the growth of our children to become better stronger people,” Diaz said.

    Calls to developers seeking comment on the closed ice rink were not returned Monday.