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Public offers priorities for golf course


A community meeting to discuss improvements to the Banks Lake Golf Course was held last Thursday night with about 40 people showing up.

Port District 7, which owns and operates the golf course, was in a brain picking mood last week and explained that it hopes to put in for a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant sometime this next spring.

Port district chairman Orville Scharbach told visitors at the golf course meeting room that community input was needed as part of the grant application.

He introduced Frank Andrews Jr., a grant writer for the Colville Tribes, who solicited ideas from the audience.

Andrews pulled ideas from the audience and then followed up by getting audience members to vote and prioritize their ideas.

All were steps to help port commissioners make up their minds about going for a grant, and to develop support material for the application.

The grant cap is $500,000, and golf courses are only one of several things being funded through the LWCF grant process.

Funding for the grant comes from a portion of federal revenue from selling and leasing off-shore oil and gas resources.

Priorities stated at the meeting:

1 - Water features, such as irrigation lines, sprinkler heads, pumps and other related needs. One person noted that to re-do the course’s irrigation system, it would take the full grant or more. Former port district commissioner Jerry Birdwell, who has been one of the golf course’s more active volunteers and who has done work on the irrigation system, said the entire system doesn’t need repair, only a portion of it.

2 - Equipment. The course has tried to keep up with the constant work schedule on fairways and greens with often well-used and broken down equipment.

3 - Clubhouse improvements that include changing the railing on the outside deck to conform to building requirements, as well as other things.

4 - Improvements to fairways.

5 - Improvements to greens.

6 - Development of a proposed RV park that the Port District did a feasibility study on a year ago.

Andrews noted that the port district needs now to put together support information to explain the priorities.

Other ideas that didn’t make the priority list included getting rid of several cottonwood trees on the course, developing working relationships with other agencies, planning and marketing.

The grant is a 50-percent match, but in-kind things such as labor, use of equipment and other things can be used for this, Andrews explained.

Andrews said that applications must be in by May 1, and grants will be awarded in June, 2015.

The Port District has operated the golf course for the past two years, largely with volunteer labor.

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