By Steve Plunkett
The Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District is hoping to tap residents’ collective imagination to decide what to put on the former Ocean Breeze golf course.
District commissioners have long planned to build a new 18-hole course, along with a short course, expansive putting green, lighted driving range and a learning academy.
But the recent gift to the city of nearby Boca Raton Country Club scrambled that vision. At the district’s Nov. 16 meeting, Commissioner Craig Ehrnst proposed asking the community how to proceed.
“We’ll get a lot of ideas and proposals, and out of that we’ll have some guiding principles,” he said.
The deadline for submissions is the end of March 2021. Commissioners also agreed to allow people to offer ideas at all their meetings until then.
Ehrnst said he still likes the plan for the short course, driving range and other amenities on the east side of Second Avenue, straddling Jeffery Street.
“But I just want to make sure it fits with what’s going on just 2 miles away. I mean, it’s a big deal to have two driving ranges next to one another,” he said.
The country club’s range is not lighted, other commissioners noted.
Commissioner Robert Rollins wanted the residents of the Boca Teeca condominiums surrounding the parcel to help push for the city to abandon Jeffery Street. City leaders instead want to build a railroad crossing to connect Jeffery to Federal Highway.
“I can’t imagine a major thoroughfare going through the middle of their community (and) in the middle of our property,” he said.
Boca Teeca resident Harold Chaffee, who is president of the group Keep Golf in Boca, suggested stocking a large drainage lake, with fish, on the west side of the property.
“You can have fishing contests. You can place your benches around it, walking paths. There’s so many things that we could do with this property,” he said. Ú