PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — Some Pierce County residents are upset a popular former golf course is going away.
The course has been closed for years, but many people still walk the trails and use the greens as a dog park, despite the no trespassing signs put up by the city.
“We had out no trespassing signs, but people assumed they could go on there. They walked over them, sometimes stole them,” said Sumner Communications Director Carmen Palmer.
Recently, city workers added a locked metal gate and concrete barrier to the entrance to try to keep people from using the old course.
"The only thing that’ll help is if they put a fence up that people can’t get by,” said resident Earle Stuard. "People are very upset about losing the golf course for walking trails.”
When KIRO 7 stopped by Friday, there were cars parked by the barriers. On the cart path, people were jogging and playing with their dogs.
"He’ll play ball until he drops,” said dog owner Jeff High.
Palmer said they’ve been dealing with issues since the course closed.
“In seven years, we’ve encountered on the golf course vandalism, destruction of our property, things going from litter and the dog waste to more major incidents of vandalism,” she said.
Construction has started on the White River Restoration Project, so city workers are cracking down.
"It’s a huge safety and liability issue. We put out a little stronger message of please, please stop trespassing at the golf course,” said Palmer.
According to the city, half of the course will become warehouses, which will take up about 59 acres.
The other half is part of a 170-acre flood protection and restoration project, which will enhance the habitat for endangered species, including salmon, and prevent future flooding.
"As Mount Rainier every year sheds gravel, it comes down the river and fills up and more of the water rises,” said Palmer.
Although the massive project will remove the popular course paths, the 5-mile Sumner Link trail will stay; however, portions of the path will be rerouted.
The cost of the project is estimated to be around $143,624,000.
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