Golf course, restaurant left in the rough

Regarding the Riverbend golf course and restaurant pipe dreams:

The most rudimentary amount of research into the viability of golf courses in the last 10 years will reveal that public and private courses are closing at a rapid rate due to changes in demographics similar to what we see happening in retail store and mall closures.

• Courses were over-built during the ’90s following the popular hype but declining economic conditions have reduced the disposable income of a majority of the population.

• Younger people have many more options for athletic opportunities and have shifted away from the more expensive ones.

• From a Bloomberg article, in 2014 course closings exceeded openings with 157 closures and only 14 openings, and of the closings 151 were public courses, 97 percent.

• This is reality and no amount of living in the past or pouring another $6 million into it will magically reverse the trends that have nothing whatever to do with the course itself. It is the market.

I sincerely hope that the City Council was not so foolish as to make promises to the developer of the apartment complex that the city would improve the course for the benefit to the developer by “golf in your back yard” availability. The excuses given for the tax break to the developer were onerous enough, but if there is some sweet deal behind the curtains to spend $6 million to enhance the course as well as the developer’s property and rental rates, malfeasance is too mild a term.

• The recent articles on the fate of the restaurant at the course illuminate the failure of the City Council to come to terms with the reality of a business location that is guaranteed to fail. no matter how much glitter is spread on the business plan. Restaurant traffic has declined dramatically for the same reasons that retail and golf courses are failing … economics and more attractive options.

Restaurants were the hot deal 10 years ago when incomes were higher and the economy had not been crashed. But now we have a whole new demographic with fewer dollars to spend on going out to eat as well as the rise of enthusiasm for cooking at home, success of the Food Channel, etc., being prime indicators.

• The City Council continues to piddle funds away on things like the $1 million spent to renovate medians on Pacific Highway, instead of maintaining the roadways where it could do some good in reducing wear and tear on our vehicles and evasive driving around potholes a necessary skill.

• Pouring more time and money into Riverbend and the restaurant foolishness are economic potholes that need to be eliminated post haste.

– Paul Nickelson

More in Letters to the Editor

Regional landfill: Building a waste-to-energy plant is a viable option

This is in response to the Sept. 7 Kent Reporter article, “King… Continue reading

Kent schools: Teachers are paid well enough

The base salary for a public school teacher in the Kent School… Continue reading

2018 elections: Dino Rossi owes an apology

The Sept. 7 issue of the Auburn Reporter included a letter by… Continue reading

What do the citizens of Congressional District 8 stand for?

It was disappointing to see Dino Rossi (like Dave Reichert) avoid constituents… Continue reading

’18 election: Rossi more equipped to work in Congress

If you want a strong leader in Congress who is a business… Continue reading

Kent schools: Take care of your heart, your teachers

The heart is the most vital organ. How you treat your heart… Continue reading

Cost of living: Seniors can obtain some tax relief

Gene Bremner, food for thought: I’m a senior in the city limits… Continue reading

Play review: Bravo to theater group’s production of ‘Alma’

I didn’t know about Theatre Battery until last Friday’s Page 1 story… Continue reading

Race for Congress: Schrier is a contradiction

Something has been bothering me. A pediatrician is supposed to be concerned… Continue reading

Cost of living: Seniors being thrown under the bus

More and more senior citizens are taxed out of their homes by… Continue reading

Statistics? Dangerous fireworks prevalent as ever

I read the article “A much quieter Fourth of July in Kent”… Continue reading

Kent dealing with frustrating traffic mess

I was taking 228th Street to go to work. When they closed… Continue reading