Berkeley Neighborhoods Council

 

Dedicated to improving the quality of life for all
by creating a unified neighborhood voice
for promoting livability and resolving problems

 

The Let's Just Get It Fixed Column

BNC will run this as a regular column featuring a building, sidewalk, street, sign, vacant lot, fence, or whatever our readers think needs to be fixed.  Neighborhoods are encouraged to send in nominations of such items.  BNC will select one (or maybe several) for all to see in each eNEWS issue, and report back on what happens when we call it to the attention of the appropriate people.  Written nominations and photos should be sent to newsletter@berkeleyneighborhoodscouncil.com.

We are nominating for the August Fix It column the historic, landmarked building known as Iceland, located at 2727 Milvia.

Unfortunately many months ago, the City Council ignored requests from Save Berkeley Iceland to give a fair hearing of their proposal to restore the historic Iceland Building to the vibrant community recreational ice rink facility that it used to be and to add a small amount of affordable 2-story townhouse type row housing on the side.  Many Berkeley residents remember Iceland as a place for families, kids and teenagers to have fun, where Olympians skated before and after winning their Gold Medals, where hockey games were played and professional ice shows performed, and where scores of teenagers could find work.  Instead, the City granted a permit for this approximately 72,000 square foot historic building to be converted to retail space operated by Sports Basement.

The vacant building has been plagued by large amounts of graffiti.  To Sports Basement's credit a lot of that graffiti has been removed, but much still remains at the rear of the building quite visible from the street.  Weeds have grown very high and thick on both sides of the building and need to be removed.  There is trash on the sidewalk, mattresses, bags, etc. and a homeless encampment on the front steps.  The old historic “Iceland” sign on the front of the building has been damaged.  As Sports Basement seems to now have a crew on-site, they should make the site more presentable to the neighbors as they proceed with their interior conversion to a busy retail store.  The building sits across the street from the new sports field on Derby, and a School District child care facility on Milvia.  Savo Island housing is on the building's north side, and other nearby residential uses are single family homes.