The Cost of Neglect

Over the years, Delray's various City Commissions have been presented with the issue of restoring to USGA standards the Delray Golf Course, once hailed one of the best Municipal golf courses in the area.  But funding for golf club restoration is always cut from the final budget, according to past Delray Mayor, David Schmidt.

“Yearly there have been requests for funding to renovate and upkeep the golf course," says Schmidt.  "And now we’re at a point that they’ve let it go so far that they're talking about selling off some of the last open space in the city.”

It is no longer just talk.

At an August 24th  2021 Commission workshop, Missie Barletto, Director of Delray’s Public Works, presented an independent study by Sanford Golf Design showing the cost to repair the golf course could reach $15.4 million.

With recent budget deficits covered by American Rescue Plan funds and its golf course in dire need of restoration, Commissioners reached a consensus to explore entering into a public/private partnership where a parcel of the course, likely the six acres fronting Atlantic Avenue, may be commercially developed in exchange for golf course renovation and repairs.

The Commission approved entering into an agreement with CBRE, a real estate services and investment group, to solicit developers for the design, construction, and operation of a redesigned golf course facility.   As part of CBRE’s $7800 monthly service fee, which will be paid back out of a sales commission, CBRE recently assisted the city in putting a Request for Proposal (RFP).

"Forty individuals from approximately 24 companies attended the Preproposal conference held at the Delray Beach Municipality Golf Course on Thursday September 8,” Delray Beach City Manager Terrance Moore told Friends of Delray. The Bidder’s Conference was to answer questions related to the Request for Proposal (RFP) released in August to seek a Private Public Partnership (P3) to renovate and develop the city’s municipal golf course.

Developers had an opportunity to ask questions at Thursday’s meeting regarding the full-scale renovation, which includes irrigation, tee, fairway, bunkers, greens, cart paths and club house facilities. Also needed is a water main transmission replacement and pipeline replacement, new maintenance equipment, and an increase in its annual operations budget.  

The City and CBRE is anticipating that they will have a number of formal proposals to choose from by the end of November.  Two unsolicited proposals had already come in last April before the Commission made its final decision to put out an RFP seeking bids for the exchange of city land for renovation and repair costs.

“It’s an amazing parcel,” said Mayor Shelly Petrolia of the golf course's six acres just west of I95.

Construction of the Municipal Golf Course was approved in 1923 and its nine holes, designed by Donald Ross, opened in 1926.  In 1950, the course was increased to its current regulation 18-hole Par 72 and opened to the public, the last nine holes were designed by Dick Wilson.  

Just shy of its 100-year anniversary, it's likely the first seven holes will be removed and pushed back elsewhere on the newly designed and renovated 150-acre course.

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