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City Biz & Opinion

Future of Boca’s new public golf course in question

What about plans for the new public golf course if the city buys another course to keep an 18-holer open?

“We’re hearing rumors the city is interested in purchasing Boca Country Club golf course. Then it doesn’t make sense for us to go forward. We really need to know,” beach and park commissioner Steve Engel said Tuesday. The country club is described an extension of the Boca Raton Resort & Club with new owners with plans for redevelopment.

“We have asked the question twice in writing without getting a response,” commissioner Bob Rollins added. “That presents other opportunities. I would be disappointed in the time and money we spent. But some things are beyond our control.”

The Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District is on hold to bid out the build until the city approves the design. The first request was in February. Then the district’s Price Fazio designers amended the plans to cost under a $15 million maximum set by council.

The district bought the site at 5800 NW Second Ave. for $19 million in 2018, repaying a city sponsored loan. A former hotel parcel was bought outright.

After several joint meetings, the district turned down city council’s offer to pay for and build the new course. That came as a surprise to council but said the offer still stands.

Now the city’s expected to approve the Price Fazio design later this month. The city confirmed the decision will be on the agenda for city council’s Sept. 22 meeting. But question whether the city is golf course shopping was not addressed.

Meanwhile, the city’s expected to close a deal with GL Homes to buy the western municipal course. “The new closing date is April 30, 2021. The city then has a right to extend it for six months until Oct. 30, 2021,” GL vice president Larry Portnoy  confirmed.  “There is another six-month extension provided, but both parties must agree.  If that happened, we would close April 30, 2022.”

Once the municipal course is closed, the hundreds of golfers who play there would not have an 18-hole course. Greg Galanis, who represents those golfers, has consistently spoken in their behalf. The only other city public course is the nine-hole short course at Red Reef Park.

In a controversial purchase at the time, the district bought the closed Ocean Breeze Course on a residential development. The plan is to continue paying for and overseeing construction of Boca National Golf Course.

“It does give us other options we can look at and I feel an obligation to that neighborhood,” Rollins said. “I’m hoping we’re reading the tea leaves incorrectly. But while I’m hopeful we could get an approval.”

By Marci Shatzman

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