Know What You're Getting
I have posted blogs and comments on Facebook and other media to be transparent and truthful talking about the Ground Lease Agreement. The County Executive just released a blog that says Chambers Bay is losing millions of dollars. That certainly is up for debate and it all depends on how he is interpreting the budget. If the Executive believes that the public should be aware of the financials, then release them. While he is at it, release them to the Council because we have asked and have not received the true costs. And let’s really be transparent and tell the public exactly what we will get from this developer (omitted from his blog) – a yearly rent with an escalator that doesn’t measure up to inflation, and after several years, a percentage of gross revenue with a long list of exclusions that will kick in. We don’t know what that will amount to. We may not see any gain for another 12-13 years. He didn’t tell you that the County will likely subsidize the course during this time. Did he mention that the bonds will be paid off in 14-15 years? At that time all the money from the course will be able to be used to support the course. In other words…the golfers will pay for the course then and into the future.
Let’s talk about subsidizing. There is not one park that pays for itself. Not Spanaway Lake, not Frontier Park, not Heritage Park, not Sprinker, and on and on. There is not a sport that covers the cost of the park, not soccer, baseball or even ice skating. Government, and that means taxpayers, cover the cost for our Pierce County Parks and Recreation.
Lastly, there are thousands of people that have used the trails and golf course. In fact, there are hundreds if not thousands that have come from out of town, from out of the State and from out of the Country. Those that come from out of the State and Country benefit the tourism industry. They are staying in our hotels and eating in our restaurants, paying hotel motel tax and sales tax, adding to our economy. Yes, ask anyone that is involved with the tourism industry and they will tell you that Chamber Bay Golf Course is an economic driver. What other sport played in our parks can say that?
This is not just about the golf course. There are many aspects within this Ground Lease Agreement that will affect all 930 acres of Chambers Creek Property including language that speaks of long-term rentals allowing people to live on the property, as well as the possible future sale of the park and golf course placing it in private ownership. The Executive neglected to speak to that clause. With all of that, I believe that the ratepayers would not mind paying pennies to keep Chambers Creek Regional Park for the thousands of people that use it. This park is a jewel. Let’s not tarnish it just to make a buck.
Please take a moment to answer a short survey (which closes May 3, 2019). Results will be included as part of the public feedback in the Pierce County Council's packet.