Official: Pool, golf course projects could complement each other

Input sessions in progress with next one Dec. 20

PORT TOWNSEND — Port Townsend city officials are considering rebuilding the public pool, and depending on community feedback, could combine that project with its other effort to find new uses for the city’s golf course.

City officials began looking at alternative uses for the Port Townsend Golf Club following a 2019 planning process during which members of the public expressed interest in alternative uses for the golf course, Carrie Hite, director of Parks and Recreation Strategy, told the audience at a meeting of the Noon Rotary of Port Townsend on Tuesday.

Earlier this year, the city began a series of public meetings to elicit feedback on how the community wanted to use the space.

The next stakeholder meeting, which is open to the public, will be Dec. 20, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Port Townsend City Council chambers at Historic City Hall, 540 Water St.

On Tuesday, Hite said officials also are seeking additional feedback on the possibility of combining the golf course project with a rebuild of the public pool, which is located at the Mountain View Commons, a property adjacent to the golf course.

“I suggested that we combine these two properties as well because there are some adjacencies that could be considered in the planning process,” Hite said.

The Mountain View Commons already serves as a community hub, Hite said. It houses the Port Townsend Food Bank, the Mountain View Pool, Port Townsend Police Station, pickle balls courts and a dog park.

Various entities have reached out to the city looking for additional space, she said.

Hite said there has been interest in expanding pool facilities from several local organizations, including the Port Townsend School District and Jefferson Healthcare hospital.

Members of the Rotary Club asked several questions about the financial sustainability of the golf course, and whether or not changes could be made to its business model to bring in more revenue.

Hite said the course, which is run by a private contractor, is able to break even only because of its volunteer support staff and would likely lose money if it had to pay maintenance staff.

The course’s irrigation systems are also in need of repairs, Hite said.

Several attendees at the meeting expressed a desire to keep the location as an open, green space within the city, regardless of what it’s used for. The course is also adjacent to the 1.4-acre Kah Tai Prairie, which is a recognized unique botanical site.

In addition to the public meetings, in September the city announced a stakeholder group of community organizations that is working with Seattle-based landscape architecture firm Groundswell to design the options that will eventually be before the wider public.

Tim Caldwell, who represents the Port Townsend Golf Club on the stakeholder board, was at Tuesday’s meeting and said better marketing could help the golf course generate more business, and that there were ways to diversify use of the space while keeping the nine-hole golf course.

“There’s a lot of open space. If we can keep nine holes, we’re open to suggestion,” Caldwell said of the golf club. “There’s nothing wrong with the golf course that marketing won’t solve.”

Multiple meeting attendees voiced concerns about the cost of constructing and maintaining a public pool.

The city was considering other sites for a new pool, Hite said, but if the pool remains at Mountain View Commons, it made sense to look at complementary uses.

The city has set up a webpage for the golf course project, which can be reached from the city’s website, cityofpt.us.

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Reporter Peter Segall can be reached at peter.segall@peninsuladailynews.com.

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