Forterra Tees up Wayne Golf Course for Open Space Preservation
29 Feb, 2016
Forterra has announced two significant milestones in the campaign to save the Wayne Golf Course from development and — it’s hoped — permanently preserve the area for community benefit, public access, and wildlife habitat. The historic golf course, graced by a stretch of the Sammamish River, is an 89-acre island of green in the heart of Bothell.
Forterra, a nonprofit devoted to regional sustainability, first announced that with the help of civic leaders it has financed the interim acquisition of the golf course’s back-9, totaling 39 acres. The purchase price was $7.125 million. This action saves the back-9 from development as a housing subdivision, as seemed imminent.
Forterra also announced that it has entered an agreement to purchase for $3 million the 50-acre front-9, pending finalized financing and due-diligence steps. Forterra’s action will forestall a contemplated development of 76 town homes in the area immediately around the club house.
Forterra is taking on debt and carrying costs for the purchase of these properties, with $12 million as the total price tag. Forterra must pay off its loans within three years. It will work alongside the citizens group OneBothell, the City of Bothell, King County and the State to assemble funding so that the property can be preserved for the long-term. Already a grant of $1 million has been awarded from King County Conservation Futures Trust Fund. With the help of Senator Rosemary McCauliffe and Representative Derek Stanford, an additional $1 million has already been committed by the State.
Adjacent to popular Blyth Park, the Wayne property could provide hiking, biking and running trails, as well as public river access. “Wayne can be the heart and soul of our downtown,” commented Jesse Sears, President of OneBothell. “It could be an incredible gift to the kids of Bothell and King County, providing a wide-open place to play and explore. We’re grateful to Forterra for setting the stage.”
“This was an opportunity not to be missed,” said Michelle Connor, Executive Vice President at Forterra. “We are proud to act as interim owner of this property. It can be a keystone of Bothell’s future and an asset to people throughout the region. We look forward to working with the community and elected officials to generate the resources to achieve that dream.” Ms. Connor thanked Joshua Freed, with whom Forterra negotiated the purchase of the back-9, and the Richards family, longtime owners of the golf course, for their cooperation in bringing the deal about. She also praised the civic leaders who helped Forterra secure the short-term financing that made the purchase possible.
The 89-acre Wayne Golf Course offers vistas to users of the Burke-Gilman Trail, which runs alongside it to the north. Other features include an historic apple orchard and farmhouse, acres of woods and a scenic golf course dating from the 1930s. It is one of the last large, private, undeveloped acreages anywhere in the central Puget Sound metropolitan area.
Dow Constantine, King County Executive, notes another of the property’s attributes. "By working with our community partners, we're improving the health of a long stretch of critical salmon habitat along the Sammamish River. Thanks to Forterra's leadership, we now have the opportunity to partner with the City of Bothell and build on the progress we've made on salmon recovery county-wide."
Added King County Councilman Rod Dembowski, "I'm proud to have stood with OneBothell and my constituents from the beginning of the fight to protect Wayne Golf Course from developers. The community deserves all of the credit for this outstanding result. For more than a year, my office has worked with OneBothell and Forterra to obtain the money necessary to protect this special land.”
In addition to $1 million appropriated by the state legislature in 2015, councilmember Dembowski noted that “We’ve secured $1 million in conservation funds from King County, and more is coming. During this time, I have opposed repeated efforts to derail the community's fight to conserve this land. The hard work by Bothell citizens has carried the day."
"I'm proud to be part of the historic preservation of the Wayne golf course for current enjoyment by the community and for generations to come," said Joshua Freed, speaking on behalf of the investor group that sold the back-9 property.
“Imagine,” said Bothell Mayor Andy Rheaume, “right in the core of Bothell we could greatly improve Chinook salmon, Lake Washington Kokanee, and steelhead habitat in the Sammamish River. What a great statement for our community to make about our city and what it values. This acquisition is a natural part of our downtown revitalization — and will be an amenity for our residents and good for our businesses.”
People wanting more information or to contribute to the cause can go to forterra.org/savewayne.
About Forterra: Dedicated to the people and places of the Pacific Northwest, Forterra is a regional sustainability organization working to keep this place special for today and future generations. Forterra focuses on how we live, work and play on our lands to address challenges stemming from mounting population growth, climate change and affordability. Working from cities to wilderness, Forterra thinks creatively and applies a broad range of skills including land conservation, real estate strategy, stewardship and restoration, policy innovation and community engagement. Today, Forterra has permanently protected more than $500 million worth of critical landscapes and improved the quality of life for people in over 94 Washington state communities.