, 2023-01-13 03:30:00,
PORT TOWNSEND — More than 200 people crowded into a conference room at the Fort Worden Commons for the first of three open houses to provide information, gather feedback and answer questions about the future of the Port Townsend Golf Course.
The gathering Wednesday evening was distinguished by strong feelings and conflicting ideas about what should be done with the 58-acre city-owned property.
The Port Townsend Golf Course and Mountain View Commons Concept Planning Effort grew out of the city’s 2020 PROS (parks, recreation and open space) plan that indicated residents were interested in seeking alternative uses for the municipal nine-hole golf course.
Responses Wednesday included advocacy by those who wanted it to remain a golf course, suspicion that the city already had a plan in place for it and skepticism toward the company the city hired to manage the project’s public engagement process.
A significant number preferred the golf course to remain as is, although there were many who wanted to see walking trails, disc golf, public housing or a community garden in its place.
The overwhelming response about Mountain View was to keep it as a pool with others suggesting a saltwater pool, playground and skate park.
“They’re putting this overlay of the [Mountain View] pool and what that vision is going to look like, but the reality is, it’s really the golf course that they’re after,” said Port Townsend resident Lyn Hersey before the start of the meeting.
“The golf course has raised over $700,000 for nonprofit tournaments over the past 20 years,” Hersey said. “All that money is directed back into the community. If for nothing else, the golf course should stay.”
One of Port Townsend Mayor David Faber’s first comments to the audience when the program began addressed the notion that the city had already determined what was going to happen to the golf course.
“No decision has been made at this time,” Faber said. “The purpose of this gathering is about open and constructive conversation about this asset.”
Chris Jones, principal of Groundswell, the Seattle landscape architecture and planning firm hired by the city, also addressed what he called “a lot of myths about this project….
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