Bremerton mayor blasts port’s golf course idea

The Mayor of Bremerton dismissed the Port of Bremerton’s idea of adding a golf course to its industrial park as “flawed” and urged the Port to consider the negative impact it would have on the local economy in a letter mailed to the commissioners this week.

“I believe this a flawed idea and would seem to be inconsistent with the Port’s mission of having a positive economic impact on our community,” Mayor Cary Bozeman said in a letter dated Sept. 8. “Adding another golf course ... would only hurt the existing (nine) golf courses in the region who are all struggling to make ends meet.”

Bozeman said he sent the letter once he learned that the port commissioned $15,000 for a feasibility study to determine the viability of adding a nine-hole executive golf course and an RV park in its industrial park.

“We’re very concerned about their plan,” Bozeman said. “It doesn’t make much sense for the port to be competing in an already tough environment.”

Bozeman said two new golf courses were added in the last five years to the area — including Bremerton’s Olympic Golf Course, part of the Gold Mountain Golf Complex — which would only be two or three miles from the port’s proposed course.

“Once I found out they made the decision to spend the money, it got my attention,” Bozeman said, explaining it indicated to him the port was “pretty serious” about the plan. “This is big business and we’ve made a huge investment in our own golf course. We’re very concerned about the addition, and I had to raise a red flag to alert them that I thought there was a problem.”

The commissioners responded with obvious frustration to Bozeman’s letter during the port’s regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday afternoon, although Commissioner Mary Ann Huntington said she was the only one of the three who received the letter prior to the meeting.

“The golf course will be part of a recreation complex,” Huntington said. “It will fit right in with the RV park and trails, and we are not out to compete with anyone.”

Huntington added that Bozeman was “jumping to conclusions” before the port had received and evaluated the feasibility study.

“The mayor has a problem with the Port of Bremerton, and it’s time for him to get off our back,” said Commissioner Bill Mahan. “He has his head where the sun don’t shine.”

Commission President Cheryl Kincer said she first heard about the letter in a phone call Tuesday morning.

‘I wish I had a chance to talk to the mayor prior to the meeting,” Kincer said, adding that Bozeman’s letter was in her mailbox when she returned home Tuesday evening.

“What’s going to happen is we’re going to wait for the feasibility study, and look at the results to see if it’s a viable project,” Kincer said.

Bozeman said with such a large contingency of taxpayers in Bremerton, he would hope to be included in the port’s decision-making process.

“If they’re going to spend ($15,000) to do a study, we’d hope they share the study with us,” Bozeman said. “We’d like to discuss the decision, and perhaps have input on the decision.”

Port of Bremerton CEO Ken Attebery said he had had a brief conversation with Bozeman about discussions they might hold in the future regarding the port’s plan.

“When the commissioners get the results of the feasibility study, I expect they will deliberate on them and discuss with others the findings,” Attebery said. “What form that will take is too preliminary to guess.”

Attebery said the port’s “small” feasibility study included tours of the site and the greater community, along with an overview of the local economy, demographics, golf market analysis and tourism.

“I’m sure there will be interest in the findings from a lot of angles,” he said.

He said that Bozeman’s assumption that spending several thousands of dollars on such a study was a sign that the port was serious about building the course was “conjecture.”

When asked if he thought the golf course would make sense economically in the region, he said he wouldn’t care to comment.

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