OneBothell Celebrates Agreement to Protect Entire Wayne Golf Course
Next Step: Funding Public Ownership
OneBothell is pleased to announce agreements have been reached between Forterra and Joshua Freed’s development group on the back nine, as well as the Richards Family on the front nine, to protect the property in its entirety. Forterra recruited private financial guarantors from the greater Seattle area for the line of credit to pay for the land, and will own it on an interim basis while steps to procure permanent funds for public ownership are pursued.
The Richards signing the front nine sale with Forterra
“Forterra is the state’s largest land-conservation organization and we are confident that together we will succeed in our mission to preserve the golf course for recreation, education, and fish and wildlife habitat,” said Jesse Sears, President of OneBothell. “They provided all their expertise, spending many late nights and weekends with us [at OneBothell] to make this happen.”
Sears went on to express his appreciation for the Richards family, owners of Wayne Golf Course. “I personally would like to thank the Richards family for being so community-focused. I always felt they knew that selling to Forterra was just the right thing to do.”
King County’s Garrett Holbrook with Michelle Conner from Forterra
“This is an opportunity not to be missed,” said Michelle Connor, Executive Vice President at Forterra. “We can celebrate today that this opportunity that has come to pass due to the cooperation of both Joshua Freed and the Richards’ family. It is also due to the generosity of a host of civic leaders who have secured our temporary financing under emergent circumstances. We are proud to serve as the interim owner, and look forward to working with our region’s elected officials and the entire community to raise the resources necessary to preserve a treasured community asset.”
Grants of $1 million from King County Conservation Funds and $1million from the state have already been awarded toward its total price tag of $12 million. After seeking community input on how the land should be used, Forterra and OneBothell will raise as much money as possible in grants over the next three years to pay off the acquisition cost. At the same time, they will collaborate with the city of Bothell on a parks bond or levy that would fund this project and others like it in the community.
“This is a large property.” said David DeBois, Treasurer of OneBothell. “We got off to a good start last year by raising $2 million through grants. Forterra’s agreement has bought us time to work with the City of Bothell, King County, and the state and federal governments to secure more funding through grants and our fundraising efforts with the public. We have a challenge ahead to raise another $10 million, but we’re confident we’ll get it done.”
The 89-acre Wayne Golf Course contains nearly one mile of critical salmon habitat along the Sammamish River, an historic apple orchard and farmhouse, acres of woods and a scenic golf course dating from the 1930s. As one of the last large, private, undeveloped acreages anywhere in the central Puget Sound metropolitan area, it links Blyth Park and the Tolt Pipeline Trail system to the Burke-Gilman Trail.
The regional significance of the land for its recreation and conservation qualifies it for grants enabling permanent protection. “It provides an unparalleled opportunity to replace long-lost side channels and wetlands to dramatically increase the survival of juvenile Chinook salmon, a threatened species. In turn, these salmon will feed endangered killer whales,” said Dr. David Bain, a biologist with OneBothell. Thus this project is a high priority for WRIA 8, the lead entity for salmon recovery throughout the Lake Washington watershed.
King County Executive Dow Constantine notes that “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 and OneBothell and build on the progress we’ve made on salmon recovery county-wide.”
For more than a year, dialogue and negotiations took place between the interested parties. The back nine, encumbered by a purchase-and-sale agreement with a development group including Joshua Freed, then the mayor of Bothell, was the focus of much effort. Praising the positive outcome of the endeavor, Jonty Barnes, Vice President of OneBothell, said, “We are genuinely pleased with Joshua Freed’s willingness to work with OneBothell and Forterra to save this environmentally valuable land for the citizens of the area. We had to believe that once he [Freed] learned about the significance of this property, he’d work with us to preserve the land for the community lisinopril 20 mg tablet.”
Joshua Freed was their to support the great news.
Freed responded to Barnes’ comments: “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, and I am thankful for your building a bridge of trust.”
King County council member, Rod Dembowski, and his aide, Garrett Holbrook, also deserve much credit, dedicating many hours including personal time as they attended council and strategy meetings to support the effort to save Wayne. Also working hard on behalf of the public were state Senator Rosemary McAuliffe and Representative Derek Stanford, as well as Snohomish County council member, Terry Ryan, and former Snohomish County Deputy Executive, Mark Ericks.
“King County has a long history of ensuring that the region’s natural treasures are preserved; this project will extend that legacy further,” remarked Dow Constantine, King County Executive.
King County councilman Rod Dembowski
King County councilman Rod Dembowski elaborated on the role King County played. “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. We 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, and future generations will enjoy the victory from this wonderful community-powered campaign.”
“This is huge progress!” is how James McNeal, Bothell city council member and former President of OneBothell, reacted. “The back nine has always been the biggest prize for the community―both for recreation, as an extension of Blyth Park, and its conservation value for the recovery of endangered species in the State of Washington, while the front nine has enormous potential for a public facility. I want to thank everyone for their hard work and dedication to preserving this land for future generations so they can enjoy it as I did growing up in this area. I look forward to working with the public to determine how the land will be used and support getting the funding in place.”
The OneBothell Team with Mayor Rheaume and the Richard’s family