City golf course to see partial closure for projects

The popular Riverbend Golf Course will be partially closed this fall, due to a project to repair flood-control levies along the Green River in Kent.

Jeff Lewis

Levee work is for flood control

The popular Riverbend Golf Course will be partially closed this fall, due to a project to repair flood-control levies along the Green River in Kent.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will repair two levees that help control flooding in the Kent Valley, and the work will require them to close nine holes of the 18-hole municipal course.

The course should be back up to 18 holes by the spring of 2009, said Pete Petersen, the Riverbend director of golf operations.

The Kent City Council voted 6-0 Tuesday, authorizing Mayor Suzette Cooke to sign an easement agreement between the city and the King County Flood Control Zone District to allow for the repair work. The agreement also stipulates that King County compensate the city for golf-course design work, construction costs and revenues lost during work on the levees when nine holes will be closed.

King County is the sponsor of the repair project and is required to provide the right-of-way needed for the work. The Corps of Engineers, which expects to start work in July, will pay for the levee projects.

As many as six holes (holes No. 4 through No. 9) along the river will be relocated because of the expanded Narita and Myers Golf levees that will stretch as much as 15 to 20 feet beyond the existing levees, said Mike Mactutis, city environmental engineering manager.

Fairways, tees and greens will be relocated on several holes. A couple of holes will use the same greens but will have the fairways and tees moved.

“It will be good for the city to improve the levee and it gives us the opportunity to give several holes a different look,” Petersen said after the Council vote.

King County would pay the city an estimated $1.9 million for the relocation of six holes, said Jeff Watling, city parks director. The county would pay the city an estimated $511,000 for lost revenue when nine holes are closed from September through March.

City officials spent the last couple of months in negotiations with the Army Corps of Engineers and the county to work out an agreement to allow the golf course to operate 18 holes through the peak spring and summer months as well as be compensated for the relocation of six holes and the lost revenue in the fall and winter as a nine-hole course.

“We feel we have accomplished that with this agreement,” Watling told the Council before its vote.

The Army Corps of Engineers expects to start construction on the levees as soon as July. But the initial work will be limited to the river’s edge so the holes along the river can remain open, Petersen said.

“There will be minimal impact to the course until after Labor Day,” Petersen said.

The Council also passed an emergency measure allowing the city to immediately hire a landscape architect at an estimated cost of $120,000 to design the reconfiguration of the course. That money will be reimbursed to the city by the county.

“We hope to get the design work done in the summer,” Watling told the Council. “Then we would bid the construction work (on the course) in the fall out of the peak season.”

Portions of the Green River Trail, a popular biking and hiking destination, also will be closed along the golf course during construction on the levee, Watling said. City officials will provide detour routes along the trail. When the levee is completed, the Green River Trail will be on top of the new levee.

Contact Steve Hunter at 253-872-6600, ext. 5052 or shunter@reporternewspapers.com.

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