At Tuesday’s regular Bothell City Council meeting, the Council approved the purchase of the Wayne Golf Course Back 9 for about $400,000. Together with last month’s action to buy the Front 9 in a sale that closed today, this permanently preserves the entire 89-acre golf course property in the City’s largest acquisition for a single park.
“City of Bothell purchasing the Wayne Golf Course is very important to our community and our region,” said Mayor Andy Rheaume in a press release. “The preservation of this land for public use and watershed health is a huge accomplishment and testament to the many people that came together to make this possible.”
The purchase of Wayne Golf Course was possible by a partnership between the City of Bothell, King County, Forterra and OneBothell. In early 2016, Forterra purchased the Wayne Golf Course to allow the City to secure funding and purchase the land.
The Council’s action preserves one of the region’s last large, private undeveloped acreages for community benefit, public access and wildlife habitat. The golf course, which includes a meandering stretch of the Sammamish River, abuts Blyth Park and the Burke-Gilman Trail. It is accessible from Bothell’s developing downtown.
What comes next?
As soon as the purchase is final, the public may enjoy the park, from walking to bird-watching.
King County has offered to design, construct and maintain trail connections from the Burke-Gilman and Sammamish River Trails through the Front and Back 9 areas. These trail connector locations will be mutually agreed upon by the City and County. They have the potential to connect Blyth Park and the Wayne Golf Course property with the Sammamish River Trail, the Burke Gilman Trail and the Tolt Pipeline Trail.
In early 2018, the City will conduct a public process to name the new park.
Also next year, the Parks & Recreation Department will launch a master planning process for the new park. Watch the City’s website and social media for opportunities to participate, as public involvement will be critical to this effort.
Most of the open space will be designated for “passive recreation activities” such as hiking and bird-watching. Four acres on the Front 9 are designated an “Active Use Area.” An additional five acres on the Back 9 could be designated for “Active Use.”
This area will initially be covered by a conservation easement, but the City can buy out the easement in the future which would increase potential uses of the property. However, a deed restriction will prohibit the following uses: residential; manufacturing/industrial; office space or storage; and any use that restricts public access such as by imposing a membership.
Once the master plan is developed, it will be a 20- to 30-year process to fully develop the park and complete restoration, depending on funding. Significant restoration work is needed, such as removal of invasive plants and improving salmon habitat.
The estimated cost for the Back 9 is $400,000, to be paid using unallocated park funds. Closing costs and actual interest and fees will be determined at closing. The acquisition was made possible because King County purchased a conservation easement on the Back 9. An easement already existed on the Front 9. In total, the entire property cost for both the Front 9 and Back 9 is about $3.8 million.
This proposal saves the City more than $6 million from earlier purchasing proposals which included the sale of bonds.