Columbia River RV Park Plan Shelved for Good?

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June 19, 2009 by   - () Leave a Comment

Gary Long Jr. is pleased that he fought Kennewick, Wash., city hall in court and won, but there's little chance an RV park will become part of his plans to expand the Columbia Park Golf Course, according to the Tacoma News Tribune

"The city has told us no. That's their position," Long said Tuesday (June 16). 

Long, who won a jury verdict of $3 million Monday against the city on a breach of contract claim involving a development agreement, wouldn't comment about other aspects of what he wants to do to make the golf course in Columbia Park "something special." 

He said there are too many decisions that need to be made involving the city. "With everything going on, we are really unsure about talking right now," he said, referring to the aftermath of litigation. 

Nicholas Kovarik, the Spokane attorney who represented Long in the lawsuit, agreed that the proposed RV park for the golf course is dead. 

But the future could include many things in Columbia Park, including a restaurant and RV park, depending on what comes out of discussions under way to create a park master plan this summer. 

The master plan for 146 acres at the west end of the park is being prepared by Richland and Kennewick, which share jurisdiction over the land. 

Kovarik said whatever results, the plan, which is expected to be ready by December, could affect what Long wants to do at the golf course. 

"It will be interesting to see how this develops," Kovarik said. "There needs to be some clear direction on what the city wants." 

Long wants to build a new clubhouse and a restaurant but cannot move ahead without cooperation from the city, Kovarik said. 

Long found himself in a similar situation three years ago when the council backed out of what he believed was an exclusive development agreement that included plans for a 67-space RV park to be built on the driving range. 

After informing Long that there would be no deal for an RV park in conjunction with the golf course, city officials then initiated discussions with Aaron Beasley of Tri-River Sports Facilities, who described his group as being in direct competition with Long for development of an RV park, shoreline and other improvements in Columbia Park. 

City Manager Bob Hammond, who's out of town and has been unavailable for comment, said last summer that Beasley did not make any progress in advancing an ambitious plan for outdoor and indoor entertainment facilities on 150 acres with two hotels, batting cages and baseball fields, basketball and tennis courts and a water park and beach.

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