The Port Townsend, Wash. City Council weighed options between managing only a golf course versus including other recreational activities. Discussion arose after a study advised at least a $1.2 million investment in the course, leading to considerations for increasing profitability of the golf course and finding a way to maintain it properly.
The majority of Port Townsend, Wash. City Council members have agreed to limit a request for proposals for the Port Townsend Golf Club to only management of a golf course, the Peninsula Daily News reported. Broadening the use of the golf club to include other recreational activities could come later, said City Manager John Mauro.
The council discussed the issue July 13 and expects to make a final decision August 3 with the hope of reviewing proposals in October and preparing for implementation in 2021, the Daily News reported.
“My thought at this time is that the proper play should be to limit the RFP to golf alone, to give an opportunity to the golf community to prove out whether or not it’s actually possible for them to continue forward with operating a golf course in Port Townsend,” Deputy Mayor David Faber said. “If we were to jump ahead of that process and expand the RFP to include other recreations and so forth, I feel this would become a legacy issue that would go on for generations, saying we killed off this thing before letting them prove that it was actually possible.”
The majority of the other City Council members shared Faber’s sentiments, with Mayor Michelle Sandoval being the one dissenting voice, the Daily News reported.
“I have extremely mixed feelings about doing just the golf course,” Sandoval said. “I know it’s what certain members of the community want, because it has always been a golf course, so it’s always supposed to be a golf course, I guess?
“But if we’re looking at an alternative track with the community and we get the RFPs for simply a golf course, we’re still going to be comparing apples and oranges anyway.”
Sandoval referred to other questions posed to the city that would have the RFP include mixed-use, shared recreational space on the golf course to provide increased access to the park for those who don’t play golf, the Daily News reported.
The course now is managed by Gabriel Tonan through a lease due to expire in December, the Daily News reported. After a study advising at least a $1.2 million investment in the course, city officials are considering options for increasing profitability of the golf course and finding a way to maintain it properly.
Alex Wisniewski, the city’s parks, recreation and community services director, told the council on July 13 that recent surveys have shown city residents’ participation in golf is declining, but that interest is growing in having access to the open space for non-golfers, the Daily News reported. For instance, non-golfers have used the course for socially distanced walking during the COVID-19 pandemic, Wisniewski said during his presentation.
Objections to the idea of mixed-use/shared space are that it could hinder golf-centric business models from being successful and that it might be difficult to protect people from golfing hazards placed on the course, the Daily News reported.
“I would like to have an RFP that has some creative thinking, that perhaps maintains outdoor recreation, whether that means a three-par course, or disc golf or something that can incorporate some housing or some broader public use,” Sandoval said.
In June, the council directed Mauro to start the process of developing an RFP for the Port Townsend Golf Club after the effort was stalled in March due to COVID-19, the Daily News reported. Wisniewski outlined for the council decisions it must make about the desired scope of the RFP on July 13.
“The scope of work basically gets at, what do we want?” Wisniewski said. “It asks the question of what do we, as a city, want from a contractor to come in and provide to us in terms of the services for the management of the golf course.
“This is really the heart of the RFP and really requires us to dig into what we desire for how we want the golf course to be managed.”
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