Forterra representatives announced Feb. 10 they had financed an interim acquisition of both the front- and back-nine of the hotly contested Wayne Golf Course in Bothell.
More than 100 people stood in the pouring rain, cramming under shelters to hear the announcement from the regional conservation group.
“It’s going to be a great park for people, and a great habitat for salmon,” said Forterra President Gene Duvernoy.
The announcement came after Forterra managed to finance $7.125 million for the 39-acre plot hosting the back-nine holes, and enter into a purchase agreement for the 50-acre front-nine plot for $3 million.
In total, Forterra said the debt for the agreement was $12 million, which the organization will assume, to be paid back over the next three years by working with the city of Bothell, King County, the state and local conservation group OneBothell.
“This is really the community of Bothell coming together to do this,” said OneBothell President Jesse Sears. “When we start working together, we can do great things.”
The county Conservation Futures Trust Fund has already awarded Forterra $1 million towards the purchase, a commitment which has been matched by the state legislature, a development which Bothell Mayor Andy Rheaume praised.
“I have never seen King County step up to the plate like this before,” he said. “I will not stop until we have this thing secured in perpetuity for generations to come.”
Christie True was present, representing King County Executive Dow Constantine.
“King County is with you on reaching the end,” she said.
According to a Forterra press release, the acquisition puts a hold on a contemplated development of 76 town homes in the area around the existing club house.
It also ends speculation that current Bothell Councilmember, and former mayor, Joshua Freed would develop houses on the back-nine after a real estate company associated with him purchased the property in 2014, and the city declined to purchase the land.
At the Feb. 10 announcement, Sears thanked Freed for working with them to reach an agreement.
Members of the Richards family were present to sign the acquisition agreements, and said they were ‘thrilled’ to see the golf course property preserved.
The course became a hotbed of controversy after the purchase of the back-nine by a development company associated with Freed, which triggered a conflict of interest investigation by the city’s insurance pool.
The results ultimately cleared Freed of wrongdoing, but also prompted a strong backlash towards developing the course by Bothell residents.
The Sammamish River runs by and through the park, and contains important salmon spawning areas, which environmental groups said was invaluable for area fish population.
Concerns that development could impact salmon runs were a frequently cited argument against development on the course.
At the press conference, Forterra announced they will begin plans and studies to turn the course into a public park.