By Doug Petrowski
Mountlake Terrace City Manager John Caulfield is promising a “proactive approach” to maintaining the Ballinger Lake Golf Course while the city seeks a new concessionaire to lease and manage the course.
“The outcome of the city’s maintenance efforts between now and the spring will be property that will be in better condition than what was handed back to the city on Nov. 5,” Caulfield said.
Tyrone and Carol Hardy, owners of Hardy Golf LLC, ended their management of the golf course on Nov. 4. City officials are preparing to advertise for a new vendor to take over operations of the course once the Mountlake Terrace City Council gives its final approval to the plan, expected on Jan. 7.
“Given the city’s most recent concessionaire abruptly left in early November, the city is now taking a proactive approach in maintaining its property to allow a new concessionaire to operate a nine-hole golf course should one be found, hopefully by the spring,” Caulfield said.
The city manager outlined an eight-point plan on how the city will maintain the 42-acre golf course:
– Putting greens maintained as needed
– Mowing as needed, especially during the growing season
– Trimming back and/or removal of overgrown vegetation on the golf course and surrounding areas
– Invasive weed control (thistle, blackberry) within the golf course
– Landscape and weed control in the golf course parking lot and areas outside the clubhouse
– Clean-up of the maintenance shop and yard
– Clubhouse clean-up, painting/touch up, carpeting cleaning
A volunteer clean-up event scheduled at the property after the first of the year
Caulfield believes the Hardys’ departure, though unfortunate, came at a time of year that makes maintenance a little easier. He expects the focus now to be the removal of overgrown and invasive weeds, utilizing the city’s park and public works employees and resources, plus any willing volunteers.
“The approach to maintain the property is the opposite approach from when the last concessionaire cease operations and vacated the property in 2004,” Caulfield said. During a transition between management companies then, the course sat vacant for months, then went through an extensive reconfiguring that led to no golfers’ use of the golf course in 2005.
“The city will be doing more compared to the last time a concessionaire vacated the property,” Caulfield noted.
To find a new management team for the course, the city will go the same route they took in 2004, advertising in newspapers, trade and business publications, with golf course architectural firms, and sending letters off to golf course operators.
If no acceptable vendor is found to take over course management, there is strong interest on the Mountlake Terrace City Council to pursue turning the property into park and open space for public use. “I would love to see it as open space,” said Councilmember Kyoko Matsumoto-Wright at the Jan. 17 council meeting.