By Agrippina Fadel
Tamarac commissioners will not order a feasibility study on the Colony West golf course to see how it could be redeveloped.
Instead, they will consider golf course improvement.
The commissioners decided at the July 10 workshop after a heated discussion. The item is still listed on the agenda for the Wednesday night regular meeting but will not be discussed or considered. Due to the commission rules, once on the agenda, an item has to be removed during the meeting and not before.
The public outcry about the potential redevelopment of the Colony West golf course has forced the city commission’s hand. First discussed at the June 21 workshop, commissioners said it caused a flurry of messages from the residents and outraged social media posts.
The city was planning to look into the prognosis of what businesses or developments might be successful in the area and was considering revamping only part of the 77-acre property, including the Glades Course, which needs a lot of work and maintenance.
Still, it seems the residents do not want to hear the words “redevelopment” and “golf course” in the same sentence again any time soon.
The feasibility study would have been done by Colliers, the same company that prepared the recent market analysis for the commercial development in Tamarac Village. Maxine Calloway, Tamarac’s Director of Community Development, explained that Colliers would have determined market feasibility for a combination of single-family, townhouse, multi-family, retail and restaurant, and family entertainment uses.
“This is just exploration so we know what can be feasible in this area,” she said.
At the workshop, Mayor Michelle Gomez said she is against residential development on the course, even in theory, but sees a lot of potential in modernizing the outdated Glades course, maybe reducing it from 18 to 9 holes, adding a driving range, miniature golf, or other family-friendly and golf related activities.
Commissioner Elvin Villalobos said it would take the city about $4 million to completely revamp the golf course and solve the drainage and irrigation issues, and maintenance of the course will continue to be expensive.
He acknowledged the city’s promise to keep the course and the green space from the development when it was first purchased in 2011 but said if nothing is done to update the course now, the future commissioners “will have to break that promise or break the bank.”
Villalobos added that he is sticking to his plea for a residential development moratorium and will not support new projects until everything else already being built is completed.
Commissioner Morey Wright said he is against any development of the Colony West course and promised to protect the green space no matter what. “I’ve never been arrested in my life, but if there is a bulldozer going on that course, you will have to arrest me,” he told BSO officers at the workshop.
Vice Mayor Marlon Bolton shared how passionate he felt about preserving the golf course as well, saying, “As long as I am here, it will not be [redeveloped]. Not on my watch,” and adding that he plans to stay in power for another 18 years, “six years as commissioner and twelve years as a mayor.”
Gomez said the conversation and her colleagues’ vigor left her “baffled” and added that some sound like “sound bites and politics.”
“The reality is it is a city-owned golf course that is not utilized fully. So, what is the problem with studying how to make it more effective?” she said, adding that if the city must expand some capital revitalizing the course, it wants to know the best and wisest way to use its funds.
The room applauded when Gomez announced that the feasibility study was pulled. The city will find a different partner to consult on golf course improvement.
- Agrippina Fadel grew up in Siberia and received her master's in journalism from Tyumen State University. Agrippina is also a writer and editor at Draftsy.net. She has been a US resident for over ten years and speaks English and Russian.
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