Silence proved to be consent.
At Tuesday’s regular meeting, no member of the Spokane Valley City Council objected to Parks and Recreation Director Mike Stone’s request to consider a motion next week to attempt to purchase the Painted Hills Golf Course at a public auction in two weeks.
However, Stone has very different ideas than proponents of maintaining the site as a nine-hole golf course. He said the city is in desperate need of park space in the area, and an opportunity like this to acquire a vast amount of land – 91 acres – will likely never come around again.
“It could accommodate a wide variety of activities and features,” Stone said. “There is also no immediate need to develop this parcel – the real key is to acquire the property.”
Don Meier, a city resident who lives near the land in the southern portion of the city, was back for a third time before the council to express his desire that the city be prepared to come out the high bidder at a trustee’s sale set for Sept. 13 at the Spokane County Courthouse. However, Meier said he believes the land should remain a golf course.
“Having a golf course gives this community a tremendous amount of pride and identity,” Meier said. “It would be a major loss if it went away. It would actually be a step backward.”
Council members did not indicate one way or the other on how they feel about purchasing the property. They also didn’t discuss whether or not to keep the links or develop a park with potential future attractions such as a disc golf course or volleyball courts.
Of course, for anything to happen, the city would have to outbid any other potential buyers who may have their own plans for the property. Stone said the city could provide “minimal maintenance,” with 30 acres receiving the most care at about $49,800 per year. The remaining 61 acres would be maintained monthly at $36,000 annually.
The irrigation would have to be improved for a one-time cost of $25,000, Stone added. To water the property – not to golf course standards, though – would be about $27,000 a year. Another $10,000 in miscellaneous costs – such as fence repair and tree and brush removal -- is also anticipated, he said.
Stone offered a caveat if council members were fans of the golf course option for Painted Hills: “We would lease it out to the private sector. I don’t believe with current staff and crews we could operate it as a golf course as needed.”
The motion consideration, with an opportunity for public comment, will be discussed at next Tuesday’s meeting at 6 p.m. at Spokane Valley City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.