GOLDEN GATE, Fla. — The sale of a popular golf course to Collier County isn't final yet, and the future of affordable golfing options is up in the air. The Golden Gate Civic Association plans to have a meeting to gauge public support for the Golden Gate Country Club to become a municipal golf course.
"There's a shortage of good municipal courses for the average golfer," said Pter Basalyga, who supports the idea.
The current owners, Robert and Mario Vocisano, are in negotiations to sell the 167-acre plot to Collier County for around $28 million.
"If it's handled right, it could be a moneymaker," said golfer Mike Kadey. "People come down here and want to enjoy golf, but can't afford to pay $180 to $200 a round."
About five years ago, the Vocisanos tried to get the land re-zoned in order to build up to 700 homes on it. But neighbors protested, and Collier County joined them in a lawsuit to prevent that development.
But while the sale is under negotiation, Collier County commissioners aren't yet sure what they would do with the land.
"The conversation by the majority of folks on the commission is, we don't want to make it a golf course," said Commissioner Penny Taylor.
She said that leaves a number of other options, including a veteran's hospital, recreational park, governmental facilities, or even affordable housing.
But while any of those options are far from being a done deal, she said that whatever goes on the land will increase property values for nearby homes.
"It really will be an example of how to develop a golf course, and respect neighborhoods," Taylor said.
The Golden Gate Civic Association's meeting to gauge public support for a municipal course is Monday March 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the Golden Gate Community Center.