PGA of America, West Palm map out timeline, cost for new golf course


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Plans for a new municipal golf course advanced another round with the city and a nonprofit foundation agreeing to negotiate a lease in the next year contingent upon millions of dollars being raised to redevelop the site of the closed course.

The nonprofit foundation, the West Palm Community Trust, was created by the South Florida Professional Golf Association. It has until Nov. 30, 2021, to show it has secured financing under terms of an agreement reached with the city. Its goal is to raise $25 million to $30 million, Seth Waugh, PGA of America CEO, told the city commission on Monday.

“We think that will build everything we need to build, as well as create a bit of an endowment to protect against a rainy day,” Waugh said. “We are very confident in our ability to do this. We have money in the bank already. We’ve had a number of conversations with prominent people, not only locally, but nationally, all of whom have had a great reaction to our dream.”

The city would be on the hook for up to $3 million in infrastructure costs such as entrance road construction.

If all goes as planned, the two parties eventually will sign a 50-year lease with an option to renew for an additional 20 years. Construction on the neglected property could be finished by March 2023. The foundation would be responsible for ongoing operation and maintenance of the golf course.

The city would get a cut of the net revenues. The city, however, must still negotiate with the county to gain title to small portions of the property owned by the county.

The site of the former golf course near Forest Hill High School in West Palm Beach has been a neglected eyesore for years. The city razed the clubhouse in 2015 and chained the property closed three years later.

“The golf course has been the proverbial thorn in the city’s side. I’m quite optimistic that with this partnership, we will get it right,” Mayor Keith James said at the commission meeting.

“I don’t think a week goes by that I don’t hear from a resident asking what’s going on – mostly out of excitement,” added Commissioner Christina Lambert, in whose district it is.

Waugh stressed that the redevelopment will be something the entire community can enjoy. All of this is spelled out in a nonbinding agreement with the city.

“This is just the path forward. … a starting point,” said Assistant City Administrator Armando Fana.

Among the features the city and the foundation have agreed are desirable:

An 18-hole course with accessibility for golfers with disabilities.
A short course and a performance center which may include indoor/outdoor hitting bays, club fitting and a putting studio with computer technology and training aids.
A clubhouse with a golf shop, lockers, showers and golf cart storage.
A community area or outdoor pavilion that can be used for community activities.
A pedestrian/bicycle path bordering the golf course, from Mary Brandon Park to the C-51 Canal.

“Whether you’re a golfer or not, we want you to enjoy this as a park,” Waugh said.

Plans also call for the South Florida PGA headquarters to move to the site, and possibly the eventual construction of a building to house the PGA of America’s memorabilia collection. The South Florida PGA will operate programs geared to a variety of groups that include veterans and young people, as well as people of color, Waugh said.

“The game of golf is grossly underrepresented in color and gender, but more color than gender,” Waugh said. “We have the belief that if we can make the game of golf look a little bit more like the world, that we can make the world behave a little bit more like our game.”



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *