City survey eyes alternatives for Port Townsend course

Questions based on goals from Comprehensive, Strategic, and PROS plan

PORT TOWNSEND — A new survey concerning potential alternate uses for Port Townsend Golf Course has been released by the city of Port Townsend.

The 27-question survey is open to all and is available at surveymonkey.com/r/PTGolfCourse with submissions accepted until 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The open-ended questions are based on five goals derived from the city’s Comprehensive, Strategic, and PROS (Parks, Recreation and Open Space) plans.

They are:

• Protect critical natural resources and open space for environmental preservation.

• Develop active and passive parks and recreation facilities, programs and opportunities that are responsive to the needs and interest of the community.

• Accommodate housing needs (including affordable housing) by focusing on developing or redeveloping lands within the city limits.

• Develop business opportunities that strengthen local businesses and provide sustained economic growth.

• Ensure a sustainable future for public services and facilities through viable funding and infrastructure management.

Alternative use ideas that fall outside of these goals are also welcome and will be collected near the end of the survey. The results of the survey will be shared with City Council members in October along with Requests for Proposals received for continued golf services.

Port Townsend issued an RFP for qualified golf management firms or individuals to submit plans for operating the golf course beginning Jan. 1, 2021.

A 2019 analysis by the National Golf Foundation called for $1.2 million in maintenance needs for the course, a figure current lease holder and course operator Gabe Tonan has disputed, saying the needs analysis would make more sense for a resort course than for a municipal operation such as the Port Townsend course.

The survey is blunt with regard to the funding challenges the city is facing, especially in attempting to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Nonetheless, the report does show that golf serves a historic recreation activity and does meet the need of a segment of the population; but to remain sustainable, will likely require a city subsidy to at least pay for the needed capital improvements,” the survey said.

“The city, though, finds itself in a position in which funds are limited and spread thin among other city services and community needs. The city does not have a sustainable or dedicated funding stream to subsidize continued golf services.”

Potential alternatives, such as turning the course into a city park, also face funding shortfalls. A new park, the city said, would be “challenged by a needed increase in staffing, resources and funding, not to mention the capital outlay required to achieve the transition.”

“Examining how the golf course may be used to help achieve other community goals also needs to be balanced with ideas on how to pay for them,” the survey says.

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Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-406-0674 or at [email protected].

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