EPHRATA - This week Grant County PUD staff is informing Crescent Bar businesses about the end of their lease next year.
It means this is the last summer for about six businesses, including an espresso shop, store, swimsuit shop, boutique and restaurant.
The district is trying to keep the golf course open, Grant PUD Natural Resources Director Jeff Grizzel said.
"The commissioners reflected on public input and consultation with agency stakeholders before approving a plan for Crescent Bar that includes the existing golf course, a public campground, improved beach areas, enhanced boating and day-use facilities, trails and expanded parking," stated Dorothy Harris, a district spokesperson.
They felt this plan maximized public recreation opportunities in the most cost-efficient manner possible, she stated.
SandTrap Bar & Grill owner Bryan Johnstone is already preparing like it's his last season, "as much as we don't want it to be, but we don't really have a choice," he told the Columbia Basin Herald.
His business employs between 10 and 12 people.
In the future, he plans to go to his business in Quincy. He owns a coffee shop at Crescent Bay Resort, which he can keep open.
The expiring lease affects businesses and residents on the island, he explained.
He has owned the business for 11 years and has seen generations of families come into the bar and grill.
"I think the PUD just has the wrong mindset about it here," Johnstone said. "The business and people want to stay. If there's anything that could be worked out, that's what everyone wants."
At this week's Grant PUD commission meeting, Grizzel responded to a commission President Randy Allred question about the future of the businesses.
Grizzel said the businesses are the same as the island's residents and have the same lease expiration date of April 1, 2012.
A business owner was wondering what he should do in terms of planning, which isn't something the district can advise him on.
What the district will do is clarify the lease date in information provided to the public, Grizzel said.
The last three-day weekend this year is Labor Day in September, Grizzel said.
Allred said the island businesses typically shut down after Labor Day.
Tim Culbertson, the district's general manager, said people tend to put their boats away around that time.
Golf can continue past that date, but boating usually ends for the season because of the start of school.
Allred asked Grizzel when the businesses would be notified that they are "totally out the door April 1."
"Are we going to tell them, or will they read it in the paper?" Allred asked.
Grizzel said they had been relying on Crescent Bar Inc. to tell them.
Allred said he didn't know to what extent Crescent Bar Inc. had been communicating.
Now that the PUD has an office open for the transition, the district could be proactive in providing information, Culbertson said.
Commissioner Bob Bernd said the businesses have leases like everyone else.
Commissioner Dale Walker asked if the leases were with the PUD.
"For all we know, their leases could be written to last until 2023," Allred commented.
Culbertson said the PUD is not the leaseholder. He emphasized the importance of being proactive in communication.
Bernd asked if a short term lease would be considered.
Grizzel said the PUD's lease expires with the Port of Quincy on June 1 and the PUD wouldn't know anything until next spring.
"We will be in transition down there," Grizzel said.
He called keeping the golf course open doable, but a challenge.
Culbertson said the district will be trying to get all of the facilities removed. There will be a lot of congestion taking place, he said.
Grizzel said staff will attempt to make contact with businesses this week.