Forterra buys last piece of Wayne Golf Course, Bothell raising money to secure land

Nearly 50 acres known as the Front Nine of the Wayne Golf Course in Bothell were purchased on May 31, bringing the entire 89-acre course under control of the conservation group Forterra.

Nearly 50 acres known as the Front Nine of the Wayne Golf Course in Bothell were purchased on May 31, bringing the entire 89-acre course under control of the conservation group Forterra.

The Front Nine was purchased for $3 million, substantially cheaper than the $7.125 million paid for the Back Nine.

Forterra Vice President Michael Beneke said this was because the Front Nine had a conservation easement over the majority of the property, whereas the Back Nine had been zoned for development.

Per the purchase agreement, Forterra would buy the property, after which the city of Bothell, King County and local conservation group OneBothell would have three years to purchase the golf course.

The timer started in February with the purchase of the Back Nine.

“We really feel like the pieces are going to fall into place to make this happen,” Beneke said.

Forterra Director of Conservation Planning Liz Johnston said before the property is sold to Bothell, it’s appraisal will be updated and will likely increase from the $10.125 million Forterra paid for the property.

Jesse Sears, president of OneBothell, said the purchasing parties are well on their way to secure the funding for the property.

“We’re moving forward as quickly as we can with the grants that we have,” he said.

According to a Forterra press release, The King County Conservation Futures Trust Fund has already granted $1 million towards the acquisition with an additional $1 million committed from Washington State.

Several million more dollars from recreation and salmon recovery habitat grants have been submitted for the golf course, which hosts one mile of the 13-mile long Sammamish River.

Sears said a rough total of around $4 million has been tentatively secured so far.

Bothell Mayor Andy Rheaume said that from the city’s perspective, preserving the golf course as open, public space was important for both the environment and the residents of Bothell.

However, the city has to pick and choose which grants it applies for since many come with strings attached mandating land use. Some are strictly for non-access preservation.

“The last thing we’d want to do is lock the whole thing down so no one could access or utilize it,” Rheaume said.

Aside from securing the golf course, Rheaume said the grassroots effort to save the course from development, spearheaded by OneBothell, had galvanized other citizen-led efforts around Puget Sound.

“This project, the Wayne Golf Course, has made impacts throughout the region about what a community group can accomplish,” he said.

The Front Nine is held in one large parcel, and must be purchased as a whole. However, the Back Nine are divided into six parcels and can be purchased individually.

The golf course will continue to operate until it is purchased by the city, the press release said.

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