MLT to transform Ballinger golf course into parkland
By Doug Petrowski
The Mountlake Terrace City Council on Monday ended any hopes local golfers had to again play Ballinger Lakes Golf Course, voting 6-1 to convert the property into parkland and open space.
The council had tabled a resolution last month seeking a new managing operator for the facility after the previous manager, Hardy Golf LLC, walked away from it last November. The plan to pursue a new vendor for the course was voted down unanimously by the council on Monday; the vote to make the property a park followed.
Councilmembers cited a number of reasons for pulling the plug on the ailing course – a history of declining use, difficulties seen elsewhere in operating profitable golf courses, stubborn economic conditions overall, and the expense of seeking a new course manager. “Looking for a new operator would be a waste of time; we need to move on,” said councilmember Seaun Richards.
The vote to end the property’s use as a golf course included a provision to pursue an operator to manage the clubhouse facility at the city-owned site. The building is currently being made available to private parties to rent, in addition to being used for city meetings and functions. Council action puts into motion finding a managing partner to oversee the scheduling and rental operation of the facility.
Councilmember Doug McCardle cast the only dissenting vote on the plan, citing his reluctance to contract for management of the clubhouse.
According to the Washington State Golf Association, the city-owned course was first opened in 1959. The City of Mountlake Terrace used a few different methods to operate it, including contracted vendors and their own Recreation and Parks Department. There were periods of time when it simply sat dormant with no managing operator.
Tyrone and Carol Hardy, owners of Hardy Golf LLC, informed the city on Nov. 1, 2012, that they would no longer manage the course despite being contracted to do so through 2015.
No timetable has been released yet about making the property available for general public use. The area is fenced and the gates are padlocked. There are tentative plans for a volunteer work party on the site this Saturday, although the city has made no official announcement as of yet.