City seeking ideas about future of golf course

Carmen Jaramillo
cjaramillo@ptleader.com
Posted 6/25/20

With the lease expiration on the operation of the Port Townsend golf course looming, the city must soon decide if they want to keep it a golf course or use the land for another purpose.

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City seeking ideas about future of golf course

Posted

With the lease expiration on the operation of the Port Townsend golf course looming, the city must soon decide if they want to keep it a golf course or use the land for another purpose.

A unanimous vote at the Port Townsend City Council June 15 means the city will seek requests for proposals to continue operation of the city golf course as well as engage public opinion of possible other uses for the space, with a final decision to come later this year.

A National Golf Foundation report commissioned in 2019 found that the course is currently operating on a shoe-string budget and may require significant capital investment and marketing to increase its revenue and break even.

Once a request for proposals is published, the city hopes to receive new proposals for operations that detail how the course could remain viable, while also beginning a public process to discuss other possible uses for the land.

In an ambitious timeline, a request for proposals could be finished and ready for release by the end of July, said Alex Wisniewski, the director of the city’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services.

Once the request for proposals is ready and published the city may also be ready to begin the public engagement process. This process could happen simultaneously with several other public comment processes the city hopes to engage, he said.

A citywide survey on the use of public spaces conducted in fall 2019 showed that roughly 75 percent of respondents said they never use the golf course. About 10 percent of respondents indicated they use the golf course on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

When asked to rate the condition of the golf course amenities, including the service quality, the restrooms and the course conditions, most respondents said they did not have an opinion. Of those who did have an opinion, they rated the majority of amenities as good or excellent.

This is in contrast to the NGF report that detailed the facility as being in “generally poor” condition and various levels of disrepair.

City councilmembers said they supported the “two-pronged” approach to consider both having the property remain a golf course or using it for something else.

Councilwoman Pam Adams said she knows those who use the golf course are very fond of it. She said she hopes at least some part of the golf course can be saved, maybe in a reduced size.

“I think it will be a sad day for many people in town [if the course closes], but it’s very clear that it’s unsustainable right now,” Adams said.

Councilman Owen Rowe said he hopes the city will see a proposal from a nonprofit to operate the golf course as a charitable organization.

Chuck Henry, president of the Port Townsend Sunrise Rotary Club, wrote a letter of support for the golf course to be preserved, noting that the space is instrumental in many local fundraising efforts.

Tim Caldwell also submitted a letter in support of the golf course. He said he believes continued volunteer labor and expanded community outreach can create a path forward to keep the course sustainable.

Comments

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Sandra Stowell

I am not a golfer, and so am not invited to enjoy this large tract of City owned "public" greenspace. So while I do understand the golf course offers an excellent value to those who do play golf, I would love to see this space opened up to other City residents.

During the recent emergency closure, a few of us took the opportunity to walk around the golf course pond, and up to the prairie to enjoy the lovely camas, checkered lilies, and other flowers in the protected prairie. It is a fine place to enjoy a walk!

One idea might be to have one day a week when the golf course is closed to golfers, and opened up to respectful city residents. The grounds would be open to pedestrians only, no bicycles, and visitors would be encourage to visit the course restaurant, Dusty Greens, for a meal or snack. Pedestrians would be educated by signs to stay off the groomed holes, and to enjoy the wildflower prairie from the edges only. Perhaps there should even be a donation box for those who appreciate this facility & want to contribute to maintenance.

Thursday, June 25
Marge samuelson

A public space that is used by so few may seem a bad investment but then again, how many people use the Kah Tai Lagoon Park, which I for one have fought to protect. All of our parks are underused. The PT Golf Course has been used to raise money for education, many organizations and also the PTHS & CHS Golf Teams. Through the years the course has been kept up by volunteers along with the person who leased it. Mike Early was there for many years and was a real promoter of the course. What's wrong with a big green open space in a town that supports green space. I am not a golfer, never will be, not because I find it boring but just as someone said "A good walk spoiled' But I have known many people who have spent many hours of enjoyment there. Besides, we are a retirement community, and golf is the perfect sport at any age.

Thursday, June 25