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Breaking news…Park district to give city OK to build public golf course

After months of pushback, the park district is expected to throw in the golf towel. They’ll agree to the city paying for and building Boca National Golf Course in Boca Teeca.

The city submitted eight points for review before the joint meeting Nov. 12 with the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District. District commissioners took issue with others, but not this one: “The city will undertake design and construction of entire golf course facility, east and west.”

That’s a big departure for the district, after investing close to $1 million and two years on a design, still not approved. But after Monday night’s meeting, commissioners were realistic. They admitted they don’t have the funds for the golf course and the other projects on their plate.

Especially after council continually turned down their $20 million request. A show of force from taxpayers after a council email scuttled a millage increase. Most of their revenue comes from property taxes.

There was pushback on sharing operating expenses and profits/losses once the course is built. That was on the city’s list, too.

“I hope they make a profit. But if you’re going to build and operate it, leave us out of the mix,” said Commissioner Robert Rollins Jr.

The district already subsidizes the city’s municipal course and the nine-hole at Red Reef Park West, added Commissioner Steve Engel. GL Homes is buying the muni, still open for play.

Price Fazio, the district’s design team, and golf course pro Rick Heard have met individually with council. The city will “use their general concepts,” but retain the right to their own architect and contractor. That was a sticking point.

“We want to get this going,” said Commissioner Craig Ehrnst. “Time lost is one of our tradeoffs.”

“We need to set a date for the first shovel in the dirt,” Engel agreed.

Their biggest discussions were over how involved the district could be. “Since this is our property,” said chairwoman Susan Vogelgesang. And how to set up a Friends-type group like the libraries and Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. Longtime Keep Golf in Boca president Harold Chaffee said he’d be willing to help.

The joint meeting is 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 12 in the city’s 6500 Congress Ave. building.

“If you don’t get what you want, you have to be ready to walk out of the room,” supporter Tom Thayer told commissioners.

By Marci Shatzman


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