By: Sharon Aron Baron
On Monday, September 26th, information will be presented regarding the Colony West proposal to the City Commission for discussion. Then on Wednesday, September 28, it will be brought up for public comment. Monday’s meeting starts at 9:30 a.m., and Wednesday’s meeting begins at 9:00 a.m.
According to Andy Berns, economic affairs officer the point of purchasing Colony West, 6800 W. Pine Island Road, would be to preserve open space.
The City is considering purchasing 262 acres.
Commissioner Harry Dressler said, “The City is interested in buying land, not a golf course business. We are interested in buying land because the City wants to control the open space for environmental and other reasons.”
Dressler added, “While controlling land is our primary purpose, the possibility of our leasing the land to a golf management company, as long as the City does not have to make large continued capital investments in course upkeep, is a strategy that makes sense.”
Former Mayor Joe Schreiber asked commissioners why they were thinking about spending $3 million to protect Colony West from developers when they already have the right to vote against any future development.
“The city does not intend to be in the golf course business, ” said Dressler, “Our strategy would be, if feasible, to be an owner and landlord of land. As such, the City would be the steward of the land and in control of its future at ideally no profit or loss to the taxpayers. This is the environmental driver of the City’s long term strategic plan.”