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Snoqualmie getting ready for PGA tournament

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SNOQUALMIE - An event that will bring 50,000 people to Snoqualmie is starting to take shape.

The first Greater Seattle Champions Classic is the newest addition to the PGA Champions' Tour and will consume the Tournament Players Club (TPC) on Snoqualmie Ridge Aug. 15-21.

To prepare for hosting 78 golf pros, their entourages and thousands of spectators, the city of Snoqualmie and the Snoqualmie Police Department are teaming up to keep the event safe, organized and, of course, fun.

The event will be the first tour competition at the Jack Nicklaus-designed TPC and will benefit The Heart Institute at Virginia Mason Hospital. Corporate sponsors have ponied up $2.5 million and local businesses are also hoping for a slice of the action by pulling visitors into Valley stores, restaurants and hotels.

Since there's never been an event of its magnitude, the city will need to update its special-event management plan, which up until now has only outlined the protocol for the likes of Railroad Days.

Police Chief Jim Schaffer is coordinating the public safety side of the plan, which will outline everything from transportation and the safety of players and spectators, to which areas will be roped off, seating and camera towers - the "whole package of the event," Schaffer said.

Snoqualmie Fire Department Chief Bob Rowe will be coordinating with Virginia Mason Hospital for emergency medical issues. As a member of the Coalition of Small Police Agencies, Snoqualmie will have access to 155 police officers for the event.

The event plan will be presented to the City Council in June.

"We're to the point where we're determining how many officers will be at which specific traffic control points and how we'll be incorporating private security people for the club with employees and volunteers," said Schaffer.

Attendees will be parking in the Ridge business park area and Philips Oral Healthcare has offered its parking lot for the weekend. The Weyerhaeuser mill site will be used for an overflow back-up area.

Attendees will receive a map showing all the satellite parking areas when they purchase tickets to the event. A shuttle bus will escort people from the parking areas to the club house all day.

"They won't have to wait long. It's a whole lot better than walking and also safer," said Schaffer, who noted people shouldn't try to walk from the parking areas to the event because some undeveloped areas in the business park may make for unsafe walking. The shuttles will be tour bus coaches, air conditioned and comfortable.

"It's important for the public to follow the plan. If you live on the Ridge and choose to walk, that's fine, but we're trying to avoid an abundance of nonresidential traffic," Schaffer said.

Ridge residents will be issued parking permits for their vehicles and for the vehicles of their friends or family who may be visiting. All cars parked on the street in the neighborhood will be required to have permits or they may be towed during officers' frequent patrols through the area.

"If you don't have a permit you're subject to ticketing and/or impoundment. It's important people don't plug up the streets when we have satellite parking," said Schaffer.

The police department will have an office trailer set up on the event campus and a command post will hold fire, police, transportation, public works and other city workers.

"That way we'll keep things flowing and be able to respond to anything going on," Schaffer said. "We have [plans] in place for everything from lost children to having to clear the area for a thunderstorm."

Staff writer Melissa Kruse can be contacted at (425) 888-2311 or by e-mail at melissa.kruse@valleyrecord.com.

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