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Buyer still trying to bring city on board for new public golf course

Construction of Boca National Golf Club is on hold, but not for lack of trying.

After city council balked twice at the asking price and design, the buyer is hoping the third time’s the charm.

They’re still looking for council’s $20 million buy-in to build the course in Boca Teeca, agreed commissioners for the Greater Beach & Park District.

The district bought the land and hired Price Fazio course designers, so they’re in for $30 million, they noted.

Council hasn’t approved the layout for an 18-hole and short courses, driving range and large putting course so far.

“We want to give the team time to meet with each council member,” said district chairwoman Susan Vogelgesang.

He thinks council has no interest except “the Winter Park nine-hole, times two,” said Commissioner Steve Engel.

Councilman Andy Thomson praised the popularity and low cost of that public course before.

“That course is just not Boca,” Engel said.

“Once they hear from the team, they may change their minds,” Vogelgesang told him.

Council plans a third look at their workshop July 22.

Vogelgesang urged supporters who spoke from the audience to “let them know what you want.”

“Every great project has stumbling points,” said Harold Chaffee, president of Keep Golf in Boca.

Commissioners also crafted a partnership agreement with the city going forward. Among the provisions are construction management and what happens if the course is built but not kept up to district standards.

The district will continue to make payments, $1.6 million so far, on the city loan. Profits and losses remain 55 percent district, 45 percent city.

Afterwards there was a collective sigh of relief. But Rollins was realistic about the district’s prospects if they have to go it alone financially.

Just to be on the safe side, “we should be looking at other revenue sources,” he noted.

By Marci Shatzman

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