Ice arena on the fast track

Developer Greg Meakin and Mayor Cary Bozeman signed an agreement Aug. 9 which allows ground breaking on a new ice arena in Bremerton within one month.

The city will give Meakin a $177,000 grant and a 50-year home for the building, east of the YMCA. The city gets 194 ice hours annually for recreational programs.

Bozeman said he gets calls from citizens all the time, including children, complaining about the lack of things to do in the area.

The arena is a great solution, he said.

“It will attract people from all over Kitsap County,” Bozeman predicted.

Completion of the arena — which includes an NHL-size rink, an arcade, a food court, pro-shop and fitness club — is slated for spring of 2003.

It’s a relief for Greg Meakin, who spent months and thousands of dollars planning to locate on a site at Kitsap County Fairgrounds, before county officials and residents shot it down.

Meakin then pitched the idea to the Mayor and the city of Bremerton.

“It’s a clear commitment on their part to long term recreation for their citizens,” Meakin said.

On June 26, City Council members hailed the ice arena as a tourist destination and social gathering spot.

Parks and Recreation Director Jim Spencer is uncertain how the 194 hours will be used, but he does say the goal is to bring as many citizens as possible on to the ice.

Spencer said in addition to youth skating, he thinks it could benefit kids, special needs individuals and seniors.

“I’ve got some very active seniors that would cherish the opportunity to get out there,” Spencer said.

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