Ice arena is more than one man’s dream

When Greg Meakin first conceived the idea of building an ice arena in Kitsap County, he had no idea where to start. As the story goes, he was standing on his back patio, thinking about his then-11-year-old twins, Carson and Colton, who had no place to play ice hockey in the town they called home. And Meakin set out to change that.

He started out with a dream, no cash, and no idea how to achieve his goal of bringing a premiere ice arena to Kitsap County.

He did what any entrepreneur would do: he took it one step at a time and accomplished little goals to make the overall goal more achievable.

After finding a financier in his former employer, Chuck and Joann Haselwood, owners of the Haselwood Auto Group, the real work began.

In two short years, Meakin found a location right here in Bremerton (the first choice, at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds, fell through), came up with a tangible plan and built the ice arena. In two years, Meakin managed to do more than most people do in a lifetime.


Because he had the dream and the initiative to get it done. Dreams can be very powerful.

But by the time the ice arena opened on May 31, there was already a buzz in the community: Was the ice arena — the pride and joy of Bremerton — in financial trouble?

The answer was a whole-hearted “yes.”

Now, less than six months after Meakin realized his dream, he needs the community he believed in to believe in him. Even though the Haselwoods have foreclosed on the Bremerton Ice Arena, Meakin is not giving up the ship.

What he needs is capital. He needs investors to buy into the dream and the reality that, on its surface, the ice arena is a sound business investment.

The problem wasn’t that the ice arena wasn’t doing business. It is, and a hearty amount of business at that.

The Bremerton Ice Arena is bigger than Meakin; it is a solid sign that things can, and do, happen in Kitsap County. The Bremerton Ice Arena is a sign that Bremerton is on the upswing: it is part of the foundation on which renovation is being built.

It is a healthy, fun, family entertainment outlet that some communities envy. Somewhere, out there, there is an investor looking for a good opportunity. Somewhere, out there, there is a bank willing to refinance an ice arena to give it a second chance and to prove that it, too, believes in Bremerton.

Whomever steps up and gives Meakin a much-needed helping hand will be doing him and the community a favor. Now it’s just a matter of who will step up first.

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