Bremerton hot on ice arena

For months Bremerton Parks and Recreation officials have quietly worked to lure Greg Meakin to build an ice arena in Eastpark.

Now, provided the City Council approves, it appears he will.

In the proposed deal, the arena would be constructed on a 2.7-acre plot in the southeast corner of Eastpark, adjacent to the YMCA, said Jim Spencer, director of Bremerton Parks and Recreation.

“I think it’s perfect. You already have the (YMCA) there, and they will benefit each other,” Spencer said.

City Council members were initially supportive at their June 5 meeting, but several expressed concerns about traffic flow.

Under the proposed concession agreement the city would pay $175,000 to help shoulder costs, including the construction of 155 parking spaces which would be shared with the YMCA.

In return, Meakin would give 169 hours of free ice time annually, and the city would recoup an estimated $50,000 a year in sales, property and business and occupation taxes.

The city would offer a 10-year lease, with options to renew for up to 40 years.

The concession agreement will be complete within weeks, Spencer said, and the proposal would move forward, contingent upon approval by the City Council and the National Parks Service.

The agreement is similar to the city’s contract with the Olympic Soccer and Sports Center. The target date for opening is spring 2003, Meakin said.

The new site will cost more to develop, Meakin said, but it has many advantages including easy access and proximity to the Bremerton Transportation Center.

“I’d venture to say there will be King County residents patronizing the ice arena,” Meakin said.

As recently as March, it appeared the rink would be built at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds.

However, weeks before the commissioners were to approve the lease, Tim Botkin announced consideration was indefinitely postponed. County planners had reviewed the lease and realized because the arena was a private development, the urban restricted zoning which permitted the project failed to apply. They determined Meakin would have to apply for a conditional use permit, which would take months.

At that point, Meakin began to explore other options.

An additional hitch was that Fairgrounds neighbors vocally opposed the project, citing increased traffic and environmental degradation.

Joanne and Chuck Haselwood, owners of the Haselwood Auto Group, will finance the project, which is worth about $4 million.

The 46,041-square-foot facility will include an NHL-regulation rink, a fitness club, hockey shop, meeting rooms and video arcade.

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