The club initiated a five-year strategic plan to achieve financial independence and sustainability for the Touchet Valley Golf Course in 2019. While a partnership with a tribal organization never materialized, Dayton CC is pursuing grants and hosting events to raise money.
This is year two of the Dayton (Wash.) Country Club’s five-year strategic plan to achieve financial independence and sustainability for the Touchet Valley Golf Course, said Sean Thurston who has led the charge for securing grants for club projects, the Waitsburg Times reported.
The primary goal in year two is the installation of an underground irrigation system, which will reduce labor expenses and decrease electrical expenses for the county while increasing the quality of the golf course and fairgrounds, the Times reported. Saving water for the Touchet River is also important.
Thurston said the group originally pursued a funding option that would have included partnering with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), to install the underground irrigation system, while increasing the Touchet River habitat, the Times reported. He said though the CTUIR has since stepped back from the project, the group is moving forward with other funding options.
The project has been broken into three phases, Planning and Design, Irrigation Reservoir Construction, and Underground Irrigation System Installation, the Times reported. Thurston said John Steidel, a Golf Course Architect, was hired in 2019 to recommend modifications that will improve the quality of the course, and reduce water use, along with overall maintenance costs.
“This was necessary prior to irrigation system design,” he said.
An independent water supply assessment was done by local water experts who agreed with Steidel’s recommendation that an irrigation reservoir would be a good solution, the Times reported. It was determined the reservoir would need to be designed and constructed prior to the installation of the full irrigation system. Steidel has identified a location for it, and a plan for its design.
Using money from fundraising efforts in 2019, the Dayton Country Club has approved Lowden Irrigation in Lowden, Wash. for the work on the reservoir, the Times reported.
“We hope to have the design completed by the end of 2020,” Thurston said.
Thurston said the reservoir needs a liner in order to prevent seepage loss of irrigation water, the Times reported. The estimated cost for that is up to $50,000.
The Blue Mountain Community Foundation-2020 Dayton/Columbia County Washington Fund has provided the Dayton Country Club with an award in the amount of $10,000, the Times reported. They have also received an award in the amount of $3,000 from the Blue Mountain Community Foundation-2020 Warren Community Action Fund.
In addition, an application with the Blue Mountain Community Foundation-PGE Tucannon River Habitat for $10,000 is pending, the Times reported.
“We greatly appreciate the support from these organizations,” he said.
Thurston told the Times the Dayton Country Club fully anticipates the start of construction in 2021 or 2022 taking up to two or three years to complete.
“Having acquired significant local support for Phase 1 and 2, we plan to apply for larger state grants to complete this final phase of the irrigation system,” Thurston said.
Thurston said the biggest challenge so far is the loss of funds due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Times reported. The County had budgeted $10,000 in 2020 to replace the failing irrigation pump, but the pandemic significantly reduced tax revenue for the County, and the pump was cut from the budget.
The Dayton Country Club has submitted a grant application to the Pacific Power Foundation to cover the cost of purchasing and installation of the pump and is waiting to hear about that, the Times reported. The Second Annual Gene Crothers Memorial Tournament fundraiser is on track for July 11. All proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward the irrigation system.
“Last year we brought in over $8,000 with this fundraiser, and this year our goal is $10,000,” he said.