For months now, the hottest topics for Boca Raton residents have been the sale of the Glades Municipal Golf Course and the acquisition and restoration of the Ocean Breeze Golf Course into a world class facility within city limits of Boca Raton. Although separate events, they are intimately connected to one another.
The Glades Municipal Golf Course sale has recently been work-shopped by the Planning and Zoning Board and is currently under review for final action anticipated in the near future. The Ocean Breeze Golf Course’s acquisition plan was presented to the public at a joint meeting of the City Council and the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District on Monday, May 8th. Attended by some 250 residents, Executive Director and Legal Counsel for the District, Art Koski, presented the District’s findings. Along with this, Attorney Koski, articulated with great clarity, the District’s ‘ask’ of the City Council.
In summary, the District wants to acquire the 212 acres of land and restore the 27 hole golf course. Also proposed is to contract with third parties for a golf learning center and conference facility and for the inclusion of a 120 to 130 room hotel to accommodate the facility’s demand.
The District, a ‘willing’ buyer, is proposing to pay the asking price of $24 million dollars to the ‘willing’ seller, Lennar Homes; an asking price much higher than any current appraised value of the real estate. The District is ‘asking’ the City Council to advance the $24 million to the District through an Interlocal agreement where the District will repay the City over a 20 year period both principle and interest on the money.
Mr. Koski argued that repayment of the bond would be accomplished without interrupting any of the District’s current or future financial
responsibilities and without the need for a millage rate increase to residents. Also argued was that anticipated course usage along with corollary revenues streams will allow the facility to run in a cash flow positive manner.
Simply stated, the District is asking the City Council to instruct City Administrators to draft an Interlocal agreement accommodating this financial transaction and, once drafted, present the terms for final decision in a public hearing.
The City Council, with Councilman Rodgers missing, has agreed to allow this negotiation to go forward.
Presented below is the ‘conceptual’ video provided by the District at the hearing and the financials compiled in anticipation of a City Council action. The public present at the joint hearing was overwhelmingly in support for this acquisition. Some members of the public, however, raised question with the $24 million dollar price tag. In response, the District argues that the opportunity to acquire and retain 212 acres of green space for recreational activity inside the city limits equidistant from the beach and I-95 cannot be measured in simple real estate terms. Also argued was a historical review of the foresight of past Boca Raton leaders in creating the Beach and Park District for the exact purpose of preserving green space whenever and wherever available.
You be the judge!
You, the resident, will have another opportunity to participate in this decision making process once the Interlocal agreement is prepared and available for public comment.
Stay tuned and stay involved….
Al Zucaro, Publisher