SANTA FE, NM – Santa Fe is excited about the new arena soccer team that may be coming to the city this year.
Last month, city officials announced that a new Major Arena Soccer League team would launch this December. The city’s costs were not mentioned, but it said it would play “a minimum of six home games at the city-run Genoveva Chavez Community Center in the Ice Area.”
They will reportedly be laying indoor turf to protect the ice and allow football teams to play. The announcement sounded like a deal was made, adding that there would be talks at city hall with the team’s owners.
However, some have raised alarm bells about how the city is now trying to change things at the community center. There are growing calls for some officials to intervene.
Santa Fe Skating President Tammy Berenzen said: club.
Berenzen loves watching young people learn something new.
“They came off the ice with these big smiles and I can’t wait to get back there,” Berenzen said.
Berenzen directs the ‘Learn to Skate’ program. She says she has taught skating to 500 people at the Genoveva Chavez Community Center since 2017.
“This is a family matter for us, and a family matter for many others involved in skating,” Berenzen said.
Later, when she read a city press release, the ice would be a grass field for at least six weekends, starting with the busiest winter sports season.
“I was angry,” said Berenzen.
She says there’s a greater concern about running out of ice altogether, given the conversations during the pandemic.
“As to whether in June 2020 the city will decide to permanently convert the skating rink to an indoor multi-use field at that time,” Berenzen said.
She has these concerns even though she doesn’t skate herself.
“Spina bifida is a birth defect and I’ve had it all my life,” she said.
She hopes that this ice and the lessons learned there will continue into the future.
“And learning that not everything is easy and that there are certain things that take a lot of time and effort to accomplish is a great skill to have in life,” she said.
David Frezquez is the owner of a new arena soccer team that has yet to be named.
I spoke with him on the phone on Monday afternoon. He has similar goals as Berenzen and wants this new football team to be a resource for children in Santa Fe.
“I will continue to bring the community closer together than ever before with this team,” said Frezquez. “My niece and nephew always hockey he skates at the rink, so this is not a football franchise depriving young people of ice time. That’s not my intention.”
Freskes declined to answer a question about how much public funding he’s seeking to get the as-yet-unnamed football team on track.
The city has sent a statement to KOB 4 stating their intent is to minimize the impact on the ice skating community and they are still getting a cost estimate.