The Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District is thinking big about its plans for the former Ocean Breeze Golf Course. Very large.
The district’s proposed master plan for the nearly 200-acre community of Boca Teeca in the city’s north includes an Olympic-level golf resort and aquatic center (50-meter fairways). But as they say on the Home Shopping Network, that’s not all.
Other amenities offered, in no particular order, are: 13 km of hiking and biking trails; a dog park; a butterfly garden and a community garden; picnic areas; a playground; and a “central green” for farmers’ markets and art exhibits.
Erin Wright is the District Board Chair. She acknowledged the plan is ambitious but said: “I think it’s something the city needs.”
Ocean Breeze closed because too few Boca Teeca residents played there. Residents objected to residential development on the vacant site. When Boca Raton decided to sell the city’s municipal golf course, the district bought it – for $24 million – with the idea of creating a new municipal layout.
But the district and the city could not agree on the cost and design of the course. Then The Boca Raton donated what is now the Boca Raton Golf and Racquet Club. As a result, the district started over, looking at Ocean Breeze as a blank canvas.
The plan provides for the development of four areas: the northwest, called the Links (golf); to the northeast, called the Hills; to the southeast, called the Sentiers; and to the southwest, called the reserve. The first phase, consisting of trails and the installation of snowshoes, could start in 2023 and last two years. The second phase could start in 2026 and end in 2028.
The estimated cost at this point is around $25 million. But the district intends to pursue a public-private partnership, known as P3, for the golf resort and racquet facility. Delray Beach is looking for a P3 for the redevelopment of its golf course. District consultant Miller Legg will attempt to negotiate these agreements, which could significantly reduce the public cost.
Wright and Briann Harms, the district’s executive director, will meet with all five city council members before presenting the plan to the full council in a workshop meeting. Harms said city manager Leif Ahnell preferred that approach. She and Wright met Monica Mayotte on Monday.
Council members can ask questions about the golf course, which the district intends to complete with the city’s development. It would have a short nine-hole course and a putting course. “Entertainment golf,” Wright called.
Then there is the aquatic center and the fieldhouse. Wright hopes the city will “team up with us,” that is, donate money. Wright said a PPP for this project is unlikely “because you can’t make any money out of it.”
District council member Craig Ehrnst noted that the city did not keep the pool at the Boca Raton Golf & Racquet Club. Wright said that because Boca Raton High School’s swim team could use the facility, the school district could contribute. Ehrnst said the resort could expand options for the Mantas club team who use the Meadows Park pool.
Another question is Boca Teeca’s reaction. Some residents wanted as little development as possible. But that would mean that taxpayers would subsidize green space for relatively few people. Wright said the district tried to keep the most active areas away from homes.
Two new members will join the board after the election next March. Waiting until then, however, would mean almost six months of delay. The district wants to hold this shop meeting “as soon as possible” because it would take 18 months before Phase 1. Wright said, “I think people will be happy.”
Boca Chick-fil-A and arts center back on agenda after delay
Two major items are on the agenda for Wednesday’s Boca Raton City Council meeting after the Sept. 28 meeting was canceled due to Hurricane Ian.
One is the approval of the lease for a performing arts center in Mizner Park. As I reported earlier, the Center for Arts and Innovation (TCAI) and the city have resolved their disputes over liability and staff are recommending approval.
A special meeting is scheduled for the council, acting as the community redevelopment agency, to sign the lease. The ARC owns the 1.8 acre site. Next, the board scheduled a special meeting to approve the lease implementation order. TCA&I can then begin a major fundraising effort.
The other item is a proposed project for 2600 North Federal Highway that would include a Chick-fil-A. It would replace a Best Western hotel.
I previously reported that the developer had convinced residents of the nearby neighborhood of Harbor East that traffic from the restaurant’s drive-thru line would not prevent vehicles from entering and exiting the neighborhood. Residents will likely abandon their call for approval of the project by the planning and zoning board.
But this approval comes with conditions that the developer does not agree with. I have not heard of a compromise with the city on these issues. If there are none, the developer will ask the council to drop these conditions.
Boca eyes funds for PGA Champions Tour
Another post would allocate $375,000 to the 16e PGA Champions Tour – formerly Senior Tour – event to be held in Boca Raton. This year’s version, which begins on Halloween, will be at the Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club. The usual site, the Old Course in Broken Sound, is being renovated.
Delray’s assistant attorney on track to become a judge
For the second time in four months, Delray Beach Assistant City Attorney Lawonda Warren is a finalist for a judgeship in Palm Beach County.
The Judicial Nominating Commission selected Warren and six others for two openings on the county bench. In June, the commission made Warren a finalist for the upper-tier circuit court. Governor DeSantis promoted Melanie Surber from county court. His seat is one of two positions currently vacant.
Boca Police and Fire Department collect supplies for hurricane relief
The Boca Raton Police and Fire Unions are teaming up with the city to collect relief supplies for Hurricane Ian victims.
Today through Friday, donors can drop off supplies at City Hall and the nearby police station. Other locations are the fire stations at 1151 North Federal Highway and 2333 Glades Road.
Donations cannot include water, food or batteries. City officials are asking people to choose from this list: socks, moleskins, wipes, neck guards, deodorant, soap, bandages, non-prescription painkillers, lip balm, insect repellent, sunscreen, first aid supplies, toiletries and baby articles, including clothing. Diapers are always a big need.