Plans for a Castle Rock ice rink are still underway despite the recent announcement that Mountain Valley Ice Arena in Vancouver will close in August.
Castle Rock businessman Greg Meakin said he was “heartbroken” to hear this month that Clark County’s only ice rink will close after 20 years.
“It’s really close to my heart and I’m just really sad that it didn’t make it,” Meakin said this week. “There’s limited access to ice in this country, let alone (Washington state). I’m very sad for the locals, but I’m optimistic that down the road, this will be a facility that’s only 40 minutes away for them.”
Meakin, who started playing hockey at a young age growing up in Montreal, first announced in September that he purchased 118 acres off of Larsen Lane in Castle Rock to develop into a sports complex. He has since titled the project “The Rink of Dreams ... at Castle Rock.”
This week, he said the $20 million complex would include two ice rinks, a spectator space with 2,000 seats, a parking lot and the groundwork for future football fields and baseball diamonds.
“The rink is just the beginning. I call it the flagship,” Meakin said.
Meakin, 59, also previously built the $5 million Bremerton Ice Center in 2003. He was forced into foreclosure one year later, but the ice rink has been “rocking and rolling” ever since creditors took it over, he said.
This time around, Meakin has said he wants to develop the Castle Rock ice arena with little or no debt. Financing for the project is still in the early stages but Meakin said he has two interested parties. He did not disclose any information about the potential investors, but he said he may know more in the upcoming months.
While he said he will be sad to see the Vancouver rink close, Meakin didn’t think it was a bad omen for his own project. The Castle Rock ice arena will benefit locals but will target regional and national teams for the bulk of its business, he said.
“I envision it as a practice facility for professional or semi-professional teams so it will reach well beyond Cowlitz County,” Meakin said.
Meakin said he expects the facility to be up and running by 2020.
“With big deals there are a lot of pieces that go into them so unfortunately they don’t go quickly,” he said. “I’m a ‘get things done yesterday’ kind of guy, but it will be a little while.”