By Mary Hladky
Now that the former Ocean Breeze golf course is no longer slated to become the Boca National course, Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District commissioners have decided to clean up and better maintain the 212 acres as they decide what to do with it.
Commissioners voted to request bids for the project at their Jan. 4 meeting. Bids are due by Feb. 12.
The project includes demolishing buildings and parking lots and planting sod on the cleared land. Trees will be trimmed or removed if they are unhealthy, and underbrush, vines and non-native plants removed. Split rail fencing will be installed in six locations.
Existing cart paths will be connected to create a walking trail.
“We need to clean up the property,” Commissioner Robert Rollins said.
Commissioners also want to improve the entrance to the property. “It definitely needs work,” said Executive Director Briann Harms.
They can’t do that immediately because the land is owned by the San Remo Homeowners Association.
Commissioners directed Harms and the district’s attorney to attempt to reach an agreement with the association that would allow the district to use public money to pay for the work.
District officials have spoken with the association in the past about possible lease or acquisition of the property, but Commissioner Susan Vogelgesang said those talks broke down.
District commissioners and City Council members intended to build the new Boca National golf course on the Ocean Breeze property, but the project bogged down because of disagreements about the cost and whether the city or the district would be in charge of the project.
The back-and-forth ended abruptly in October when the Boca Raton Resort & Club donated the 167-acre Boca Golf and Tennis Country Club to the city, eliminating the need for a new golf course.
Commissioners are now eager to create a new plan for the Ocean Breeze land. But once again, the district believes the city has thrown up a roadblock that so far is keeping commissioners from hiring a consultant to create a master plan, while the city denies it is causing delays.
Deputy Mayor Andrea O’Rourke said at a Jan. 11 council workshop meeting that it would be a good idea to schedule a joint city-district meeting to “make sure we are on the same page.”
Council member Monica Mayotte agreed.
“There are great things that can happen in that space. We should put our heads together and get a joint meeting on the calendar,” O’Rourke said.
In other beach and park district business on Jan. 4, commissioners unanimously agreed to keep their current leadership lineup.
Vogelgesang will remain as chairwoman, Erin Wright as vice chairwoman and Craig Ehrnst as secretary-treasurer.
“I think we have a great group in place and I wanted to keep them together,” Rollins said