SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Commissioners talked about Bobby Jones at City Hall for many hours Tuesday night. In the end they decided on more green space over more golf holes.
We now know the plan for the nearly 300 acres of the Bobby Jones Golf Club. Commissioners decided to downsize the property from 45 holes to 27 holes, paving the way for more park space.
“I think this is the time for us to make a wise decision to right size the course and put it on a sustainable path for years to come,” said Hagen Brody, a Sarasota City Commissioner.
“It’s important for me because I have a 15-year-old kid at home and I want a place for her to be able to experience the natural world, I feel that we need more parkland,” said Nancy Milholland, a resident of Glen Oaks Estates.
There will now be 130 acres for parkland use on the property instead of the 90 acres if the 36 holes had been approved. Back in September, commissioners had previously voted for a 36-hole renovation project. Golfers on hand at the meeting were pushing for the 36 holes.
“What we’re looking for is 27 holes of regulation golf or championship golf as it’s called and nine holes of executive or short course golf," said Andy Saluga with the Bobby Jones Men’s Golf Association. "We found that as presented by the National Golf Association to the commission in a previous meeting it was the most cost effective.”
Total cost of the project is unknown. For the time being the course is being run business as usual with the 45 holes.
“It’ll take us a couple years to get it done but the neighborhoods are going to really have a new asset that they can go out and bicycle and jog in and walk the dog," said Tom Barwin, City Manager for Sarasota. "I think they’re going to really like it when it’s all done.”
“I love to see the community out here and what we’re doing," said Jen Ahearn-Koch, Mayor of Sarasota. "I love the fact that we all want to preserve the golf course for parkland in some shape or form.”
Next up with all this, the focus will be on funding for this project.