In a report to be presented tonight to the Lynnwood City Council, the city’s director of parks and recreation strongly recommends the city privatize the management its troubled, money-losing golf course. The facility was the subject of a critical state audit in December because it has relied on continued bailouts from the city’s utility fund including a $1.3 million chunk of recent borrowing repaid slowly enough to constitute a “permanent diversion” of funds in violation of state law, auditors said. The city pledged to explore new options including closing or selling the course, or contracting out its management. The new report says the latter would “produce significant cost savings and efficiencies coupled with a strong marketing approach to produce higher revenues.”
Collaboration in Civic Spheres
Archive for the ‘Parks/Recreation’ Category
by Matt Rosenberg February 19th, 2013
A recently-issued report from Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley says the City of Tumwater is breaking state law by continuing to fund its money-losing golf course with revenues from its utility fund which are paid back so slowly the loans are a “permanent diversion” of taxpayer monies. The public facility owed nearly $2 million as of December but the city says it won’t change its practices because keeping the land open and green is crucial to connecting regional recreation assets, and the course will eventually see an uptick in revenues from hoped-for redevelopment of the adjacent Brewery District. Tumwater’s response stands in sharp contrast to that of two other Washington cities recently faced with similar audit findings about public golf courses beset by red ink. Lynnwood in Snohomish County is exploring contracting out the operation of its golf course or selling it, and Sumner in Pierce County says it will seek to sell its facility.
by Matt Rosenberg December 26th, 2012
The City of Lynwood has in effect permanently diverted funds from its utility account to prop up its money-losing city golf course, in violation of state law, according to a newly-released accountability audit from the State of Washington. The city says in response it will stop raiding the utility fund to keep the golf course solvent – and in 2013 will decide whether to sell the facility, contract its operations out to the private sector, or keep it afloat through General Fund loans or transfers.
by Matt Rosenberg October 22nd, 2012
Scattered across the State of Washington are dozens of target practice ranges for owners of rifles, pistols and archery bows, and more than a few involve cooperative arrangements between local governments and non-profit shooting clubs. One these is the Roger Dahl Range operated in West Seattle by the West Seattle Sportsmen’s Club on City of Seattle property under a ten-year lease set to expire in 2013. Another is in Cowlitz County in southwest Washington, where on October 23rd the county council is set to approve a $153,330 contract with Horsely Construction for land preparation work on the Cowlitz County Public Shooting Range. The county has pledged a total of $245,000 in loans to the operator of the range, the non-profit Cowlitz Game and Anglers, to get the facility built, according to the Longview Daily News. The loans may or may not be forgiven. But despite the county’s help; despite surmounting protests from concerned neighbors and county taxpayers and winning a county land use permit with 44 provisos; and despite a groundbreaking ceremony last weekend, the project’s ultimate success may still hinge on a somewhat iffy state grant.
by Matt Rosenberg October 9th, 2012
Perhaps the most unique of the City of Seattle’s parks is The Kubota Garden. From the page for The Kubota Garden at the City of Seattle Parks and Recreation Department’s web site: “Hidden in South Seattle, Kubota Garden is a stunning 20 acre landscape that blends Japanese garden concepts with native Northwest plants. The city acquired the property…an historic landmark, in 1987 from the estate of master landscaper Fujitaro Kubota. Kubota was a horticultural pioneer when he began merging Japanese design techniques with North American materials in his display garden in 1927. The Gardens are a spectacular setting of hills and valleys, interlaced with streams, waterfalls, ponds, bridges, and rock out-croppings with a rich array of plant material.”
I had a chance to visit the garden for the first time, a few days ago. Following are some photos. If you live in or are visiting Seattle, don’t miss this place.
For more information on how to volunteer or support The Kubota Garden, contact The Kubota Garden Foundation.
by Matt Rosenberg October 3rd, 2012
If you’ve been glad to give your muddy, happily exhausted canine a good sudsy hosing at Wash Spot Express in King County’s Marymoor Park in Redmond after a romp in the “Doggy Disneyland” off-leash area there, you’ll be pleased to learn the company and the county are likely to be inking a new 10-year concession agreement before the end of this year. The proposed pact and an accompanying letter of endorsement from County Executive Dow Constantine have been transmitted to the county council. The dog wash on park property is adjacent to the west parking lot and the popular 40-acre Marymoor off-leash facility. Because the partnership formed in 2007 has worked out well for the county and Bothell-based Wash Spot LLC, says the agreement, it should be extended until 2022. If expected approval is granted by the King County Council later this year, Wash Spot Express’ monthly rent under the new agreement will be $1,050 and the company will pay the county 10 percent of all monthly income above and beyond the first $8,000 earned per month.
by Matt Rosenberg September 30th, 2012
Following several months of investigation, the Puyallup City Council Tuesday night is poised to give approval to an ordinance that electronic dog leashes and collars don’t meet its code requirements to keep dogs under control in public. A city staff memo to the council explains explains the backdrop. Earlier this year, as The Tacoma News Tribune reported, resident Terry Nelson asked the city for clarification after he was fined for not using a leash on his two dogs in Wildwood Park, although he was using an electronic leash. The fines of more than $500 per dog, were later dropped, and the city agreed to dig into possible code revisions. The ordinance Tuesday is a “first reading” of the proposed final policy, which with majority backing could then immediately advance to a second reading and final approval – or be held for a final vote at a following meeting, depending on the council’s inclination.
by Matt Rosenberg September 24th, 2012
Lummi Island is the northeastern-most of the San Juan islands in Washington State, and is reached via a small car ferry operated by Whatcom County. It’s a lovely, quiet place and public lands to visit include numerous shorelines and beaches plus several nature reserves overseen by the Lummi Island Heritage Trust. One such excursion, not to be missed, is the 1.6 mile hike – with a 1,056 foot elevation gain – on Lummi Mountain in the Baker Preserve. It goes to the scenic lookout over Rosario Strait and the San Juans. I had a chance to do that this summer. Here’s the video.
More from the Lummi island Heritage Trust on the Baker Preserve’s history.
In 2007, Lummi Island Heritage Trust, the San Juan Preservation Trust, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife succeeded in permanently protecting the 435 acre Baker Ranch on the west side of Lummi Island. This conservation partnership raised the $3.67 million necessary to complete the project with the help of Heritage Trust and Preservation Trust members, state and federal grants, and a league of private donors.
The Baker Ranch was one of the largest and most visible unprotected shoreline properties in the San Juan Islands. The Ranch includes a diverse mix of old growth and mature forest, grassy balds, wetlands, farmland, and over one mile of saltwater shoreline. Today, conservation easements limit development of the 435 acre property and ensure permanent protection of the land’s natural values. The San Juan Preservation Trust holds conservation easements on 355 acres and the Department of Fish and Wildlife holds a conservation easement on the remainder of the property.
The entrance for hikers is on Seacrest Drive on Lummi island, about one-third of a mile south of Sunrise Road. No dogs allowed on the trail.
For a meadowlands walk on Lummi Island with views of Mount Baker some sixty miles east on the mainland in the North Cascades, explore the Heritage Trust’s Curry Preserve.
This Is Your Land: Melakwa Lake – The video,” Public Data Ferret.