SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - It was a standing room-only crowd Tuesday night at the Bobby Jones Golf Club. Residents heard all about plans for the golf course property and gave their input as well.
Sarasota city officials say around 50 acres of the nearly 300 acres of the Bobby Jones Golf Course will be transformed into open space and a public park. Many people we talked with also say the entire clubhouse is in need of a major renovation.
“I love the idea of having conservation in perpetuity for the public in this area of the city limits," said Nancy Milholland, a resident who lives near the property. "I think it’s awesome, I’m just so excited the city is considering this.”
Last month city commissioners gave the okay for a 15 million dollar renovation plan for the property. It would reduce the number of golf holes from 45 holes to 36 holes, 27 regulation holes and 9 short course holes, freeing up some of the land for the city’s open space plans.
“The big idea is to redesign the course and make it even better for golfers," said Tom Barwin, City Manager for Sarasota. "But do it in such a way so that it would also be an attractive asset for people that are out for a stroll, or a walk, or a bike ride or they’re out there to do some bird watching.”
City officials say their big goal is to make sure the Bobby Jones Golf Course could never be developed, especially because of the environmental benefits of the property. After deciding on the plans for the open space, golf course renovations are expected to get underway in about a year and a half.
“I think the property is too beautiful on the small golf course especially not to make a park," said Connie Ochionero. "The people around here have no parks.”
If you did miss Tuesday night’s workshop, there’s another one planned for sometime next month.