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The Par 3 is Kent, so let's keep it

The article in the Kent Reporter ("Let's save Municipal Golf in Kent", Feb. 14) is at best misleading and poses more questions than answers.

In a nutshell, the parks director wants to sell the par 3 and only keep the 18-hole golf course in order to "save golf in Kent." But is this really saving golf in Kent? Is this really a commitment to help find a solution to save golf in Kent? Let us make this very clear, par 3 is golf in Kent. Par 3 is an integral part of the golf complex. Par 3 has been here since 1962 and has served, and will continue to serve, the needs of the seniors and the youth of this community.

In his article, Mr. (Jeff) Watling wrote about three options and a number of operating models that have been presented to the city in order to fix the budget deficit incurred during his tenure. Yet Mr. Watling only gravitates toward the idea of selling the par 3 without fully considering any other options. Instead of fixating on the sale of the par 3, Mr. Watling should refocus his attention and ask himself, "How did he get into this mess and how can he fairly and equitably resolve it?"

Mr. Watling's desire for the golf course to be sustainable cannot, and will not, be attained by pouring more money into the actual problem. The problem will continue to exist until Kent has a strong, committed, innovative and accountable leader in place. Unfortunately, right now, we do not have that.

The Committee to Save Par 3 has submitted proposals, ideas and measures to increase revenue and cut cost with the intention of paying the debt and, at the same time, saving the par 3. A private consulting firm was hired by the city of Kent to help handle the debt, but this idea was dismissed as well.

The parks director has only one thing in mind: sell the par 3 to cover up his failures and shortcomings which he attributes to bad weather and the poor economy. The council needs to look closely at the management and operation of the golf complex. Has anyone been held accountable for this mess? Why did it take six years to take corrective measures? The council should consider a debt relief program for the golf enterprise and at the same time review how it was managed and operated. Management should always be held responsible and accountable, and if performances and expectations are not met, there should be consequences.

The par 3 committee hopes that the council will do the right thing and save the par 3. This is a prudent way to be fair and equitable to the seniors and youth of the city.

If anyone wishes to join, help, or has any question for the Committee to Save the Par 3, please call the committee at 253-859-3019. Concerned citizens should also call or write the mayor's office at City of Kent, Office of the Mayor, 220 Fourth Ave. S., Kent, WA 98032 or call 253-856-5200.

– Dick Gravender, Committee to Save the Par 3

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