Plans to build twin National Hockey League ice rinks in Gilroy are one step closer to becoming reality with the recent release of an environmental impact report.
The large-scale ice rink project at the Gilroy Sports Park was set in motion in mid-2019 when the city signed an agreement with Sharks Sports & Entertainment.
The facility would be owned by the City of Gilroy and operated by Sharks Sports & Entertainment, but would not host any NHL training or games.
Officials hope the project will be a big boost to the local economy. It is expected to offer year-round ice programs to the public such as youth and adult hockey leagues, ice dancing, recreational skating and more, with an estimated 500,000 visitors annually.
An environmental impact report for the park’s third phase of construction was released on Dec. 23 by EMC Planning Group, with public comments accepted through Feb. 12.
Plans call for a 100,000-square-foot, 30-foot-tall building on the southern end of the sports park’s 79 acres. The first floor of the building would house two National Hockey League-size ice rinks with a seating capacity of 150-200 per rink, with locker rooms, retail space, administrative offices and other facilities.
The second floor would consist of roughly 150 seats per rink, physical fitness space, conference rooms, a bar/restaurant overlooking the rinks and more.
A total of 387 parking spaces is proposed.
The proposed site for the project is currently agricultural land. To mitigate the loss of farmable land, the Gilroy City Council on Jan. 6 agreed to a $1.3 million easement to protect 108 acres of farmland at 7665 Crews Road, also known as Van Dyke Ranch.
According to a city staff report, “a conservation easement is a deed restriction landowners voluntarily place on their property to protect resources such as productive agricultural land, ground and surface water, wildlife habitat, historic sites or scenic views.”
Van Dyke Ranch has been in operation since 1921, and primarily grows Blenheim apricots.
The agreement allows the Land Trust of Santa Clara County to monitor the easement.
To view the environmental report, visit www.cityofgilroy.org/298/Development-Activity-Projects.