Plans to redevelop the West Palm Beach Municipal Golf Course are now on hold after city commissioners denied plans to go through with the project.
"It's just turning into a wildlife refuge at this point," said resident Lorraine Smith.
Smith has lived across the street from the golf course for the past 15 years and said she enjoys watching all the activity from her front yard. However, the golf course closed in September, part of a multimillion-dollar project that included a clubhouse, boutique hotel, apartments, and a Top Golf franchise. And now the plans to move forward have been put on hold after city commissioners voted Monday to withdraw the Request For Proposal for the project.
“I’m disappointed that they decided to just put a stop to it,” said Smith.
Not only are people who have to look at the abandoned golf course from their property upset, but avid golfers too.
“Here’s another great opportunity for public golf for all our great consumers to play and if this thing doesn’t happen it will be terrible," said Ken Kennerly.
Kennerly is Executive Director for The Honda Classic and has attended some of the meetings for the redevelopment plans. He said the Top Golf franchise has no doubt spiked an interest in the sport, which is slated to bring revenue to the area.
"I just think Top Golf and Drive Shack are enormous vehicles to help grow this great game of golf," said Kennerly.
Kennerly went on to say Palm Beach County is the golf capital in the state, yet it's lacking public golf courses. However, with redevelopment projects like the one that was planned in West Palm Beach, it would drive even more people to our area.
"The future of golf is very bright in South Florida and that's why it's critical that have daily fee courses developed and redeveloped to give people an opportunity to play," said Kennerly.
As for the people who now have to watch the land sit vacantly, they just hope its decades-long history doesn't get completely erased.
"Over 50 years that it has been here. It used to be a really busy course and it would be great to see it come back and flourish,” said Smith.
The City of West Palm Beach issued a statement about the decision saying:
“Last night, the City Commission voted to withdraw the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the redevelopment of the municipal golf course, which now allows the City to accept unsolicited bids from potential developers that meet the requirements of the original RFP. After 30-days, we’ll report back to the City Commission. Our priority is ensuring that, at the end of the day, this process will result in a golf course and amenities that meet our residents’ needs and that they can be proud of. We look forward to receiving these new proposals.”—Jeff Green, City Administrator
Anyone interested in submitting a proposal can call city of West Palm Beach Procurement Director Frank Hayden at (561) 822-2102.