Big ideas carry big risks. That’s a central part of the discussion that’s revving up again about a major resort proposed for Mount Rainier’s back yard.
Mount Rainier Resort at Park Junction, the ambitious undertaking that’s been on the drawing board for the better part of two decades, would be a big dea regionally and for the Elbe-Ashford area where it would occupy 420 acres off of State Route 706. An 18-hole golf course, a 270-room hotel, 300 condominiums, a conference center capable of hosting 500 people, 20,000 square feet of retail stores, restaurants, tennis courts and a swimming pool would be like nothing currently or previously in the mountain’s shadow.
Whether the project is ever built is a growing question. Its developers have made no discernible progress – definitely no construction – since the project cleared land-use and environmetal hurdles in the mid and late-1990s and subsequent legal challenges by opponents. The developers say they aren’t giving up, despite the economic downturn that they blame for an inability to get financing for the project in recent years. That’s the risk that developers take when they have big dreams.
It will be interesting to follow the decisionmaking by a Pierce County hearing examiner on whether the Resort at Park Junction will keep its go-ahead from the county to eventually be built, or whether the sand in the hour glass has finally run out.
The Dispatch editorials are written by editor Pat Jenkins.