Because the current leadership of the City has failed to address the need for its restoration as a community recreation center, an initiative targeted for the November Ballot has been launched through which the Citizens of Berkeley would establish the restoration of Berkeley Iceland as a public community recreation center the official policy of the City of Berkeley. A drive to qualify the initiative kicked off on the fifth anniversary of Berkeley Iceland's closing in 2007 with the goal of getting the signatures of 3,000 Berkeley voters by May 10. The full text of the initiative is available at http://www.berkeleyiceland.org/advocacy/ballot_2012/resolution.
When the current owners of Berkeley Iceland closed our 72 year old community ice rink in 2007, the City of Berkeley lost a valuable public recreation space. In the intervening years, the community has fought and won preservation of the structure in the face of significant opposition from the owners and little support from city leaders. With preservation of the structure achieved, the City of Berkeley needs a policy regarding use of the site that best serves the entire community: a public recreation and community center based on a sustainable ice rink as was the historic role of Berkeley Iceland. This initiative would set City policy so that any plans for Berkeley Iceland coming before the Council, Boards, Commissions and other official bodies use the need for community recreation in their decisions.
While it was the the current owners who closed Berkeley Iceland, actions of the City of Berkeley were cited by the owners as contributing factors. Because the building was not designated for preservation and the City did not have a policy to preserve the valuable community space, Berkeley Iceland was allowed to become an unused eyesore neglected by its owners. While the landmark designation of the building is settled and the site itself protected, the attention is turned to the use of the building. The City of Berkeley needs a clear policy to ensure Berkeley Iceland is restored for the good of our community. A building designed for public recreation in a City lacking recreation space requires policies which favor its restoration as a community recreation center.
The City of Berkeley Master Plan recognizes the lack of public recreation space in Berkeley. The restoration of Berkeley Iceland as a community recreation facility is an opportunity to return lost community space to the City of Berkeley. With active support for this goal set forth in the policies to be adopted through this petition by the City of Berkeley, resources from public, private and nonprofit sources can be combined to restore a truly world-class community recreation center in an acknowledged historic building - Berkeley Iceland.
Petitions are being circulated throughout the City of Berkeley - look for us at the Farmers Markets and other popular sites. If you can volunteer to gather signatures, contact us through the Save Berkeley Iceland website , and follow our progress on the site as well. Help us in the next step to Save Berkeley Iceland!
As always, we thank you!, our community, for all the support you have given over the years - without it we would not gotten as far as we have!
Email Tom Killilea at: tom@SaveBerkeleyIceland.org