SAN MATEO -- Round two of the Bridgepointe ice rink fight is under way.
The owner of a shopping complex on the San Mateo-Foster City border has submitted a new proposal to demolish a shuttered ice rink and replace it with one or more retail stores.
Meanwhile, supporters of the former Ice Center are preparing to bombard San Mateo officials with reasons to reopen the facility.
SPI Holdings generated a backlash in 2012 when it first proposed shutting down the rink, which drew hundreds of youth and adult hockey players from the mid-Peninsula, among other users.
The company withdrew its first proposal in April 2013 before the city held any hearings, then shut down the rink in May while figuring out its next move.
The new proposal for the 77,000-square-foot space remains vague, but it differs from the first in one key respect. Last time around SPI offered to make up for the loss of the rink by paying for a new soccer field in San Mateo and a restroom at a Foster City park. Now the company is offering simply to pay the city a recreation fee, with the amount still to be determined.
The offer seems unlikely to satisfy the pro-rink crowd.
"They want to be able to buy the spot. They want the city to be able to say, 'This is how much it costs,'" said San Mateo resident Julie McAuliffe, whose 16-year-old son's hockey team now practices in Dublin, Cupertino and Vacaville. "We're going to fight as hard as we can to keep the ice rink there."
The master plan for Bridgepointe Shopping Center, a cluster of big box stores off state Highway 92 that includes Target and Home Depot, requires that it contain an ice rink or similar recreational use. SPI will ultimately need approval of the City Council to eliminate the recreational component from the master plan.
"The reason Bridgepointe was allowed to exist," said ice rink supporter Len Rosenduft of Belmont, "was the community was going to get a benefit out of it."
Representatives for SPI did not respond Monday to a request for comment.
Ron Munekawa, the city's planning director, emphasized it is still early in a long public process, which will begin in the coming weeks with a neighborhood meeting and a Planning Commission study session.
"The applicant would then submit a formal planning application that would have a specific proposal," said Munekawa, "and at that point we would do a more detailed analysis."
The city has cautioned that it cannot compel SPI to operate a rink, but McAuliffe and others argue that if the City Council denies a master plan amendment and the Planning Commission denies any change in the recreational use, the company will have no other options.