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Will the city let the new public golf course be built?

With no city money forthcoming, the buyer decided to go it alone.

But the city still has to approve the district’s $19.9 million Price Fazio design for the new public golf course. Only then can the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District put out construction bids, explained district chair Susan Vogelgesang.

No funds or approval materialized for Boca National Golf Club at last week’s third joint meeting with city council. The city decided it could do the course cheaper, after hearing out other designers.

“We worked long and hard for many months and the public supported our selection of a design. After three hours it was clear to me no money was forthcoming,” Commissioner Robert K. Rollins Jr. said Monday night.

So commissioners voted to engage their newly hired financial adviser to pursue private financing. That wouldn’t preclude the district accepting the city’s offer for a construction loan, noted Sam Goren, legal counsel.

The district also agreed to ask for a meeting with the city manager and both legal counsels on design approval. The meeting is expected to take place next week. Design approval is only required for the 18-hole course on the west side of second avenue.

By taking both actions, the district “lets the city know that’s our direction,” Rollins added.

The district also needs the city’s OK for access to the west side of the course for drainage before construction can start.

If nothing comes of the private meeting with the city, the district has legal recourse, Goren said.

A Florida law requires both government entities to negotiate in good faith, he said. If negotiations break down, “there are penalties for not acting in good faith,” he said.

Commissioner Erin Wright still wanted another public meeting with the city, hoping for a better partnership. Her fellow commissioners applauded her intentions, but agreed that would never happen.

“We reached out with every olive branch we could think of,” Rollins said.

Residents and golfers backed the district’s actions, even before the votes.

“This facility will revitalize our section of the city,” former Florida Atlantic University men’s golf coach Angelo Sands said about Boca Teeca in the city’s northeast. “This is bigger than a golf course. Call it a community development project.”

By Marci Shatzman


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