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Effort to reopen Holmes Harbor Golf Course falls short

The quest of the Holmes Harbor community to reopen its namesake golf course is dead.

At least, for now.

Stan Walker, president of the board of commissioners for the Holmes Harbor Sewer District, said Friday the district’s offer to buy the property had been rejected by Columbia Bank.

The Holmes Harbor Golf Course closed in March, after its owners, Holmes Harbor Community Partners, said they could no longer keep the 18-hole, par-64 course open because of the sour economy. Attempts to find a buyer for the property, valued at more than $2.6 million, also fell through.

Holmes Harbor-area residents formed a nonprofit association in April, in the hopes the course could be reopened shortly after Memorial Day.

In mid-May, the sewer district offered to buy the golf course, without the clubhouse, in a short sale.

Walker said that while Holmes Harbor Community Partners accepted the offer, it was rejected by the bank.

“Although there was a viable plan for the association to reopen the course, the course and consequently the community are apparently the victims of the economy and the legal conflict between Holmes Harbor Community Partners and Columbia Bank,” he said.

Walker said supporters had explored multiple options for a community operated course, but none panned out.

“There’s no hope for the present time,” Walker said.

“But there is hope for the future,” he quickly added, and said circumstances may change in the future that would allow the course to reopen.

Todd Bitts, president of the Holmes Harbor Recreation Association, the nonprofit set up to manage the course if it reopened, agreed.

“We’re done at the moment, but we’re not done. I’m not through,” Bitts vowed.

Even so, donations that have been made to the association will be returned.

“We have never cashed any checks. We didn’t even open our bank account because we had no money to do it, until we had an agreement,” Bitts said.

The nonprofit will continue to exist at least through the summer, he said.

Walker said the sewer district will no longer maintain the property as a golf course, but will rough-cut the grass instead.

The property is vital to the Holmes Harbor Sewer District, which uses the course to distribute water from its nearby sewage treatment plant.

Walker said it would be tough for residents to watch the greens disappear.

“It is going to be a beautiful setting. But it’s not going to be a golf course,” he said. “It’s going to look more like a mowed wheat field than a golf course.”

Officials from the sewer district began negotiations in May to buy the links, a 54-acre course built by former Seattle Supersonics basketball star Jack Sikma in 2003.

The district offered $200,000 for the land, but Walker learned the bank rejected the deal about 10 days ago.

Still, Walker said the passage of time may bring new opportunities for the return of the golf course.

“Of course, anything can happen. I just don’t see that it’s going to happen with the present parties involved,” he said.

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