, 2023-01-18 12:13:56,
Hundreds of attendees came out to give their opinions on the golf course on Wednesday, Jan. 11 only to end up seeing dots.
More than 200 people showed up to the packed event at the Fort Worden Commons building to explore the fate of 58-acres of city-owned property.
Port Townsend City Manager John Mauro said the commons was possibly the only space available in town large enough to host an event like it.
He also made clear the city’s intention to use the vast interest in the golf course to explore the future of Port Townsend’s pool while people were paying such rapt attention.
“We’ve taken a big decision and we’ve made it even bigger by taking the golf course and Mountain View and sort of putting them together because they’re so adjacent to each other. And maybe there isn’t anything between them, but let’s ask the question,” Mauro said.
Consensus on questions was hard to find.
Throughout the night, exclamations were tossed out with golf lovers’ angry asides countered by those who wanted to return the land to Native people or turn it back into a prairie drawing some of the loudest comments.
Chris Jones, founder of Groundswell, the Seattle landscape architecture and planning firm hired by the city, did his best to lead the audience through a presentation explaining what’s possible on the site while ignoring the interjections.
For months, he has worked with the help of a 21-person stakeholder group assembled by the city in response to the 2020 Parks, Recreation, and Open Space plan that indicated residents were interested in seeking alternative uses for the municipal nine-hole golf course.
“We are not designers necessarily, we are consensus builders,” Jones said. “We’re going to get a lot of feedback from all of you, not everything that everybody wants is going to fit on this site. It’s our job to discern what are the priorities.”
Jones offered examples of other golf courses that had been modified to include trails or public park land. Then he listed two golf courses that had been renovated to be maintained as is, but mentioned that his team had to look outside the state to find the latter.
When it came time for the question-and-answer session, Jones and city staff again maintained the situation by taking only written questions and disregarding the good deal of declarations offered aloud. So many people showed up for the event that the city ran out of comment cards for…
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