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Settlement Reached on RV Park Plan Fiasco

April 20, 2010 by   - () Leave a Comment

KEPR-TV, Pasco, Wash., has learned that Kennewick, Wash., will sink even more of your money into the Columbia Park Golf Course.

The city already lost a lawsuit and was told to pay millions for the same course. The case is awaiting appeal.

Now the city will pay even more money to make a change at the site.

The course itself is quiet and calm, but the drama behind the scenes at the Columbia Park Golf Course is anything but.

It started when operators began talking about bringing in an RV park. When the idea was squashed, they sued and Kennewick was ordered to pay $3 million.

The city’s appeal is still going through the courts. But now a new wrinkle — the operator and the city just worked out a separate mediation deal. The city will pay more than $300,000 to end the contract with the current operator and find a new one.

Both sides are on board.

A local couple operates the course. Action News reached out to their attorney. He calls it “a very positive settlement with short-term benefits for his clients and long-term benefits for the city.”

Kennewick City Attorney Lisa Beaton says the settlement could end up saving the city in the long run. A deal now means no lawsuit later.

“There was a potential risk on both sides because we couldn’t even agree on simple facts on the lease,” said Beaton.

Essentially they disagree on how much money the managers spent on improvements. So this settlement pays for that plus the city is buying out the golf course equipment. Once city council signs off, the city will find someone else to run things at the course.

And so from a legal perspective, the lesson learned?

“I think next time we will write a tighter lease,” said Beaton.

That way, calm at the course may once again mean calm behind the scenes, too.

The city says just because it’s getting someone new to manage the golf course doesn’t mean it will shut down in the meantime.

The city and the operator both promise a smooth transition this summer.

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