New location for ice arena?

Greg Meakin, managing director of Silverdale Ice Arena Inc., said his phone has been ringing off the hook since project plans took a turn for the worse.

Four proposed new siting options could be feasible, Meakin said, including one owned by the city of Bremerton.

A dozen parties have proposed alternative locations for the $4 million rink, which will be financed by a contribution from Joanne and Chuck Haselwood, owners of the Haselwood Auto Group.

Previous plans called for the arena to be built at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds, but unexpected permitting problems have put that location on hold.

Bremerton Parks and Recreation director Jim Spencer declined to discuss precise locations under consideration in Bremerton, but he said the city wants to work with Meakin.

“We have a couple (sites) we’re looking at. We are definitely interested in finding a way to make it work,” Spencer said. “We just need to run the trap line to make sure we can do what we need to do.”

Other proposals were offered by parties in Port Orchard, Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island, which Meakin did not name.

But Meakin is not ready to give up on the Fairgrounds yet.

“With the enormous time and money invested in the Fairgrounds proposal to date, my intention is to establish this very clearly before formally considering other choices,” Meakin said.

If the Fairgrounds site proves unworkable, Meakin said he would consider other locations based on “quality of location, long-term commercial advantages, ease and speed of site development and other factors.”

In a proposed lease with the county, a plot of Fairgrounds land would be offered to Meakin in exchange for 186 hours of ice use per year. If the location changes, Meakin said, alternative scenarios such as a land purchase or a private land lease might be considered.

He called the support he received from the community after the delay “refreshing and encouraging.” Ice arena backers are regrouping, Meakin added.

The Silverdale ice arena originally was slated to be built on Old Frontier Road, but high development costs prompted Meakin to turn his attention to the Fairgrounds property.

The facility would have an National Hockey League-size rink, a women’s fitness area, an equipment-supply store and an arcade.

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