The first of three significant public closures planned for Chambers Creek Regional Park will begin next month as the United States Golf Association prepares for the fast-approaching U.S. Open golf championship.
Access to the 930-acre site will be restricted starting March 16. That’s when the off-leash dog park, Bridge to the Beach, portions of the Soundview Trail and the grass area of the Central Meadow will close.
This will allow construction to begin on the tent city the USGA will use for the championship that runs June 15-21. The USGA estimates more than 200,000 people will visit the site during the event.
The merchandise pavilion, media area and food concession tents will be the first to go in.
“We’re starting as small as we can, and then it will keep expanding,” said county Parks and Recreation director Tony Tipton.
Additional closures will follow this spring before the entire site shuts down to the public June 10.
Dates and details for closures in April, May and June:
• April 20: Central Meadow and its parking lot and restrooms; North Meadow grass area; Soundview Trail. The road running from the top of the property to Central Meadow will close. Grandview Trail remains open for another month, but users must park on the street or in the Environmental Services Building parking lot.
• May 26: Chambers Bay Golf Course; Playground by the Sound; Grandview Trail.
• June 10: Public access to Environmental Services Building and parking lots.
The April closures are expected to affect the most people, Tipton said.
“On March 16 you’ll still be able to walk the trail around the course. You’ll still be able to walk around the site, you’ll still be able to park in Central Meadow,” he said. “On April 20, that’s when it starts to be very noticeable.”
The park will remain off limits to the public after the event, giving the USGA time to restore the property to its pre-championship condition.
Portions of the park will reopen in phases, similar to how it closed. County officials think most of the property will reopen by September. The golf course will open first, then the trails and lastly Central Meadow and the beach area, Tipton said.
A few spots are likely to stay closed for the rest of the year, including grass areas where there is “significant wear and tear on the landscape,” he said.
“Those areas where we need to replant grass, we will need to keep people off it until it grows in enough to withstand the traffic,” Tipton said. “Some (grass) areas of the Central Meadow will probably not be available until spring of 2016.”
The county also hasn’t decided whether it will reopen the temporary off-leash dog park after the U.S. Open. Discussions are ongoing about what to do with the temporary site.
Earlier this month the county closed a heavily used parking lot at the north end of the park in preparation of its eventual expansion. The lot will remain closed until mid-September.