KEEP GOLF IN BOCA
Keep Golf In Boca always appreciates correspondence from Mayor Singer and the Council. While we do not agree with their current position, communication amongst us all is always welcome. Please, let us be clear - we recognize what the council is doing in some areas for the City of Boca Raton and their residents.
We are also extremely grateful for the hard work and amazing projects that the Beach and Park District (a semi-volunteer entity & their only focus is Recreation - let us not forget, unlike the City Council) that we have seen over the years. We have some of the best parks and recreation facilities in the country. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
It is always good to remember that the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District was established to save and maintain green space and recreation.
That is their JOB.
Their budget, each year, gives money to the city to maintain and update the city parks & ball fields, beaches, and Gumbo Limbo - to mention a few - in addition to their District-owned properties. These projects are paid for through the Beach & Parks budget every year. (with taxpayers’ dollars, from both unincorporated residents & city residents.)
Boca Raton is not a sleepy little town. It is a vibrant and landmark City. It has wonderful tourist and resident events occurring - continuously, beautiful beaches, ideal weather, and the like. Boca Raton is a destination location. We are all grateful to be citizens of this fabulous community.
It is also important to remember that we all do not participate in all of the assets that the city offers - but yet - we all benefit. Some do not beach - some do not play ball - some do not nature walk - some do not golf - some do not museum - some do not concert - yet we support ALL. That is community.
The Beach & Park District has taken on the Boca National golf course project these past few years - to save green space - add another beautiful location - all to improve the recreation and vitality of the City of Boca Raton. We appreciate all concerns that want an affordable and viable course. Very smart and experienced individuals from the Beach and Parks have tasked themself to this goal.
We have a plan.
It is affordable.
Let us stop throwing obstacles in what is a clear path to a wonderful future asset to our community - and yes - one which will likely increase revenue for small and big local businesses - and increase enjoyment for all.
Harold Chaffee, Keep Golf In Boca
Update on Joint Meeting of January 27, 2020
The Royal Palm Room at Community Center was packed with golfers, residents, and taxpayers anxious to hear what kind of a partnership the city & BPD would accomplish, if any.
Well, still no partnership, since the city council members are adamant in not approving the Price/Fazio design and not giving money to the BPD to do the course, but most importantly would not say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the Price/Fazio design for Boca National golf course.
The council members each spoke in various ways assuring the BPD commissioners and the audience that the price to build the golf course is too expensive.
Councilmember O’Rourke said the council cannot spend tax payers’ money this way. She noted that there were a lot of residents from Boca Teeca and was wondering why residents from other areas of the city weren’t here?
As one speaker informed the council, this joint meeting was announced on face book, Boca First, bocawatchers, and several other social media sites. Maybe because it isn’t in their backyard! What difference would it make anyway, the residents who were there are tax payers to the City of Boca Raton. It doesn’t matter where they live. Is the city sectioned off to those that get and those that don’t??
Councilmember Mayotte, at a prior city council meeting was willing to contribute something, now says she does not want to give any money; but the BPD wasn’t asking for money at this meeting. The BPD just wants the city to honor the original ILA and just move on. They started the project, so let them finish it. The BPD has a lot of time and money invested into this project.
Deputy Mayor Rogers spoke about how the city wanted to buy Ocean Breeze and the BPD stole it away.
This isn’t true. The original deal was $10 million plus the Ocean Breeze property in exchange for the municipal. When the city had an offer from GL Homes for $72 million for the municipal that night with no contingencies, which was rejected because certain council members thought they could get more money and that proposal went out the window and a deal of a lifetime. The next offer was $62 million, also from GL Homes, which the council voted yes to accept and lost almost $10 million of our tax dollars – poor decision, bad leadership.
Mayor Singer re-iterated his version of the city’s willingness to build, construct the golf course in 18 months, neglecting to remind the public that the BPD would have no claims whatsoever to the west or east course other than to keep paying the bond for the next 20 years. He was completely confused that the golfers are now willing to wait longer than 18 months for a better golf course for everyone in the city to play on and a destination golf course.
Councilmember Thomson spoke the longest and again took over the meeting with more questions of the BPD, for example, how did they reach the $14 million cost on the golf course from $20 million; how is the BPD going to fulfill their partnership (paying for city projects) obligations, etc. Ms Harms responded that items were already included in their budget several time, but Thomson never gave up, picking away at every detail.
This city council does not understand that we, as tax payers and residents, want a golf course that will be challenging to play, make money, and adding to the amenities in the City of Boca Raton. The council does not see what a better public golf course, like Price/Fazio designed course, can do for the future of Boca Raton and its economy.
The city council, city manager, nor staff has put out any RFP for a less expensive and different golf course design, showing us that they are not serious about any golf course design. The city is just going by the results of the RFI they received several months ago, which we know was not an in-depth estimate to design and build a golf course. Should they take any of those seriously? You know the overage tab(s) will be definitely close to or even over $14 million.
Commissioner Wright of BPD requested approval of Price/Fazio design for the golf course and mentioned that after the sale of the municipal course, the City could possibly contribute some funds. Mayor Singer said again they need more figures sent to the city. Just like before a 17-page questionnaire about incidentals, just to stall the process.
Mayor Singer insultingly waves 3-page response which the BPD had sent to City Manager, requesting both parties honoring the original ILA and giving them the layout for the golf course with time and a breakdown of project schedule and costs related.
The city council response was that they wanted to know how much the design would cost - hard numbers, because the cost is tied into the design and approval. You need approval so you can move forward and get firm prices. If you got prices now, this would only be good for 30 to 90 days and the pricing cycle would never end and probably get no bidders at all.
No one will waste their time on a firm bid that will never be accepted, basically a waste of time. The estimates presented to the city were under $14 million for a functioning golf course and if approved, could be started and parts opened in 18 months.
A great description of this joint meeting is a “merry-go-round” and after 2-1/2 hours we all wanted to get off! This was another joint meeting which accomplished nothing.
Mayor Singer was very anxious to schedule the next joint meeting, possibly March 23rd after their City Council Workshop meeting, which conveniently is after elections. Is anything going to change for the positive in this partnership? The BPD response to accepting that date is they need to check their schedules & calendars.
In the letter from the BPD that was sent to the city, there is a 45-day grace period for the City to accept, comment, change, or deny approval of the design and the battle will go on. But it is worth it for a fabulous golf course, which will be a crown for the city for years to come? - YES.
Harold Chaffee, President, KEEP GOLF IN BOCA
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