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Controversy grows over plan to turn Boca Raton Country Club into public course

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Posted at 3:06 PM, Oct 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-12 18:28:45-04

BOCA RATON, Fla. — A new controversy is brewing over a donated public golf course in Boca Raton. Now, plans for a course near Interstate 95 and Yamato Road are up in the air.

News spread quickly last week when the Boca Raton Country Club decided to donate its 18-hole golf course and clubhouse to the city of Boca Raton.

The course is expected to open to the public next year.

"I don't know what the rush is," said Herald Chafee, the president of Keep Golf In Boca.

Chafee lives right next to Ocean Breeze. That's where, for the last five years, the city and Beach and Parks District have been working to build a golf course on a piece of land purchased for $24 million.

Chafee said he’s not a fan of the donated golf course because he and his neighbors had no idea it was happening

"Nobody knew anything about it. Beach and parks didn't know anything about it. We as taxpayers didn't know about it," Chafee said.

Chaffe is also upset the deal wasn’t open for public input.

City Councilman Andy Thomson said the public can give input over the next year.

"In that year's time, we will be able to work out any issues, if the neighbors have them, if folks at Boca Tecca have them," Thomson said.

Beach and Parks District Board Member Susan Vogelgesang said the district now has to look at what to do with the 212-acre property at Ocean Breeze.

"I would love to see the east side still developed as a short course and a lighted driving range and unique putting area and learning center," Vogelgesang said.

Thomson said the city will work with the district to figure out what the public needs in that space, but that will take time

"We have so many opportunities to satisfy so many recreational needs of the city," Thomson said.

The Boca Raton City Council will have their virtual meeting on Wednesday where they will have their final vote on this agreement with Boca Raton Country Club.