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Delray Beach public golf course could get much-needed makeover

City leaders taking bids to sell off some Delray Beach Golf Club land
Delray Beach Golf Club sign
Posted at 11:50 PM, Aug 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-11 08:49:15-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla.  — Big changes could soon be on the way to a historic landmark in Palm Beach County.

Delray Beach's municipal golf course is months away from reaching the 100-year-old mark and the city is moving forward with a multi-million public-private partnership plan to fund a much-needed makeover.

For the past 10 years, city leaders have been working to find a funding source to cover the cost of repairs to the aging course.

"It could be so much nicer, you know, with some repairs and some housekeeping," golfer Rick Fohr said. "I mean, you could see it. It just looks old."

'Delray Beach Golf Club Est. 1923' sign
The Delray Beach Golf Club has been around since 1923.

City leaders and residents agree the public course is in desperate need of repairs. However, that comes with a hefty price tag — anywhere between $10-15 million, according to Sara Maxfield, the city's economic development director.

"We're hoping that we get someone who really, truly wants a partnership and is truly interested in coming to the table and interested in our development goals as much as they are in their own," Maxfield said.

To help cover the cost and keep taxpayers from having to foot the bill, the city is looking to put a portion of the 18-hole course on the market. The commission hasn't decided on the number of acres just yet. However, when it comes to what could be built, the possibilities are nearly endless.

City wants to sell some of Delray Beach Golf Club land
City leaders are accepting proposals from developers as they look to sell a portion of the 18-hole Delray Beach Golf Club land.

"We really want to leave it open for creative possibilities for developers, because they know much better than we do, what the private market and what the market will bear and what might work there," Maxfield added.

But not everyone agrees with the public-private partnership plan.

"We should not be selling public space," longtime resident and former Commissioner Jim Chard said. "It's very precious. God created it once. It's not going to be created again."

He said the option of selling could potentially cost the course to lose its historic value.

Jim Chard, former Delray Beach commissioner, opposes plans to sell portion of golf course
Jim Chard, a longtime resident and former Delray Beach commissioner, opposes a plan to sell off some of the city-owned Delray Beach Golf Club land. "We should not be selling public space," he says.

"We should be looking at maybe other uses but preserving our ownership in this rather than putting in commercial buildings and even residential buildings," Chard said. "We have a whole Congress Avenue that we could do that on."

The city began accepting proposals Wednesday and will continue through Nov. 9.

City leaders hope to have a developer selected by the end of the year.

To learn more about the city's public-private partnership plan and proposal process, click here.