Rehash over public golf course

The park district still wants the city to accept the design for the new public golf course. Then it will ask for construction firm bids to build Boca National Golf Course in the Boca Teeca neighborhood.
The second “ask” came after nearly a three-hour meeting between city council and the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District Tuesday night. The city will still have 45 days to respond. See below for the letter to the city.
The district held firm in its decision to go it alone with their Price Fazio design. “We ended up with $2 million in reserves that helped push this,” explained district executive director Briann Harms. They don’t expect to raise taxes.
City council held firm in surprise their offer to build and fund the project was rejected after it was accepted. Councilman Andy Thomson said as the biggest critic, he still doesn’t support the district’s game plan. Mayor Scott Singer said their offer still stands.
Timing was everything.
“Everyone appreciates the green space, but not for five years,” Boca Teeca resident Robert DuKate said about the end phase. He called the spat between the council and the district, “like a divorce agreement.”
But the district said the course can be built in phases with play starting in 18 months. The city was asked to expedite permits and approvals for the former Ocean Breeze.
Boca National will have an 18-hole course, 11-hole short course, putting green, driving range and infrastructure buildings.
The district didn’t ask the city for money from an expected $67 million when they close the sale of Boca Raton Municipal to GL Homes. But speaker after speaker urged the city to reconsider. “We want the city to contribute some proceeds,” said Gregg Galanis, president of golfers at the muni.
The district credited the city with pushing them to value engineer the project that started at $28 million. The latest cost estimate is $13.9 million.
Also at issue was a new joint agreement the district rejected out of hand. The city wanted more back and forth negotiations.
“I think it’s a good project. It’s time to move forward,” district commissioner Robert Rollins Jr. said to applause by most of the the room.
Here’s the letter to the city sent last week:
Attached is our request for approval of the design of the 18 holes on the west side of the property. We have also included a five-year budget projection, as well as an overall design schematic of both the east and west sides of the property.
We will be phasing the project over several fiscal years. We will get input from the National Golf Foundation to ensure the phasing option selected will be the most financially viable.
The budget does not contemplate a millage increase and provides for increases to the city’s operation and maintenance costs. We look forward to getting this approval and moving forward on the project as soon as possible.

By Marci Shatzman

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