Plans for improvement at Trailhead Golf Course in Liberty Lake are finally moving forward and site work has already begun on expanding the parking lot.
The plans for the nine-hole city-owned golf course have changed over time, but have been under discussion for years. Director of Planning and Engineering Lisa Key said it’s nice to see the project finally underway. “It’s pretty exciting for the city,” she said. “It’s been a long time coming.”
However, this isn’t the best time to be building on a budget. Supply issues have driven up prices and made some things nearly impossible to find, making the city’s original improvement plans financially out of reach. “It’s not everything we wanted, but it’s everything we need,” Key said.
In an attempt to keep costs under control, the city is doing the improvements as a progressive design build project, Key said. “This is not a traditional public works kind of project,” she said. “The process is intended to design to a budget.”
The city recently hosted two open houses to get public input on two proposed designs. Both include parking improvements, a restaurant, an expanded pro shop and meeting space. The original discussion included making improvements to the driving range and hanging higher netting to catch errant golf balls, but those plans have been put on hold due to the cost.
Key said an expanded pro shop was a necessity and some features, such as the meeting room and sports simulators, would bring in revenue during months the golf course is not open.
The first proposed design presented to the public met the City Council’s original proposed budget of $6.4 million. The second option, slightly higher at $6.9 million, includes more deck space, more bathrooms and a second sport simulator. The simulators can be used for a variety of sports in addition to golf, including soccer, baseball and football.
In addition to the open houses, the city did an online survey as well as a survey of residents shopping at the Liberty Lake Farmers Market. Of the more than 200 people who filled out surveys, 80% were in favor of the second, expanded design that is slightly more expensive, Key said. “In political terms, that would be a landslide,” she said. “For a little bit more it feels like we’re getting a lot more.”
The City Council recently approved moving forward with the $6.9 million option and Key said she expects the final design to be completed by mid-August. “We are pushing to meet that date,” she said.
The first phase of the project, which is currently underway, includes the parking lot. The entrance will be improved and regraded. New electric and water lines will be buried and lights will be installed. When the first half of the parking lot is finished, probably in early September, a trailer will be moved in to serve as a temporary pro shop.
“At that point we’ll begin demolition on the existing building,” Key said.
The current clubhouse is old and in poor condition. The basement of the current building will remain intact, but everything above it will be torn down and rebuilt. That phase of the project should be complete next summer, Key said.
In addition, the city has recently selected a vendor to operate the on-site restaurant, chef Adam Hegsted of the Eat Good Group. Hegsted’s company owns several restaurants, including Incrediburger and Eggs, the Gilded Unicorn, Republic Kitchen and Taphouse, Honey and The Yards Bruncheon.
The proposed menu sent in with Hegsted’s proposal includes a variety of pasta, sandwiches, burgers, salads and Haute Dogs – gourmet sausages produced by Woods Meats and topped with everything from queso to mac and cheese. Other proposed menu items included roasted avocado nachos, popcorn cauliflower, pub fries and deviled eggs.
“It’s going to be an eclectic menu,” Key said.
Key said she hopes the public will enjoy the project once it’s complete, particularly the meeting room. Liberty Lake has little in the way of public meeting rooms, particularly those large enough to accommodate 80 people. When the city was originally getting public input on what amenities the golf course should include, public meeting space was high on everyone’s wish list.
“I think this is something the community has wanted for a very long time,” she said.