City moves forward in discussions for Gold Mountain management

The City of Bremerton is moving forward with efforts to sign a contract with Columbia Hospitality, a Seattle based hotel and hospitality management company, to run Gold Mountain Golf Course operations.

City Attorney Roger Lubovich and Financial Services Director Becky Hasart briefed the city council last week and informed them that under the current proposal, Head Golf Pro Daryl Matheny will work for Columbia under a contract. Likewise, longtime Golf Course Superintendent Ed Faulk is working out details for a way to stay with Gold Mountain under a Columbia management contract.

Lubovich and Hasart said that ongoing reviews of financial data between the city and Columbia appear promising.

The need for new leadership at the golf course follows the announcement by Scott Alexander, who has run the golf course for 28 years, that he will be retiring at the end of the year. The transition comes at a time of economic uncertainty in the golf course industry both nationally and locally.

The city’s debt service on the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain and bonds used to pay for the clubhouse are set to increase significantly in the next couple of years.

At least one Bremerton City Councilmember, Greg Wheeler, is uneasy about teeing up a partnership with a firm like Columbia that, so far, has no experience in golf course management.

Wheeler says it’s a black-and-white issue for him and a matter of principal. Rather than signing a contract with Columbia, Wheeler would prefer that the city look at conducting a nationwide search to get the best, most professional golf course management available.

“Unless something really unexpected happens, I’m going to have to vote ‘no,’ ” Wheeler said.

Columbia Hospitality launched in 1995 after being selected by the Port of Seattle to manage the Bell Harbor International Conference Center on Seattle’s waterfront. The company now has more than 1,200 employees in five states and currently manages the Kitsap Conference Center at Bremerton Harborside.


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