10200 Maddox Lane, Bonita Springs, FL
BONITA SPRINGS — A dormant Bonita Springs golf course deserves another shot.
That’s the dream of the Bonita Springs Golf Course Development Group, which wants to revive the Bonita Springs Golf and Country Club, 10200 Maddox Lane, that closed in 2006.
The group plans to update the city at today’s 9 a.m. City Council meeting on how it intends to finance the course. The group is spearheaded by Catherine Backos, chief executive and developer of Fairwinds at Bonita Springs golf club; Dan Gawronski, an adjunct professor at Florida Gulf Coast University; and David Teets. They hope to gain moral support and guidance from Bonita Springs city officials as they seek funding by a bond issue through the economic development program at Lee County.
This also means the group is no longer seeking support and funding from the city. Originally the golf course was valued at $9 million, now it’s estimated to be about $6 million, with an addition $1 million to clean up.
Gawronski was unwilling to share the details of the business plan because he says it is too early in the process to reveal anything, but he says the community supports the group’s effort to revamp the now defunct golf course.
“The citizens are interested in having that golf course resurrected,” Gawronksi said. “Who wouldn’t? How that would come though, I’m not at liberty to discuss openly.”
Proponents of a reopened golf course say it could bring up to 40 new jobs to the City of Bonita Springs, increase tourism and tax revenues for the city, possibly attract new residents and increase real estate values.
It might even satisfy your golf craving.
The Lee County Industrial Development Authority would need to financially support the redevelopment of the golf course into a not-for-profit public golf course facility. The development authority, which is part Lee County Economic Development Office, has not received any requests from the group just yet.
However, Jennifer Berg, spokeswoman for Lee County economic development, said the golf course would not fall within their guidelines.
“Our mission is the retention and expansion of high-wage, high-value industries and the location of diverse high-wage high-value industries. Our incentives’ programs are leverage based on level of job creation. At our office, we don’t work to attract things like, retail or service industry jobs.”
Berg said that the programs they would award incentives to are measurable and have to be 115 percent the average 2011 wage in the county which is $35,471 per year as published by Enterprise Florida.
“We are looking at capital investments being brought into the community as well,” Berg said. “Our programs are very clear-cut for the requirements you have to meet. It’s specific about what qualifies and what doesn’t.”
While it is still uncertain what will be done to help revamp the once-thriving golf course, the Bonita Springs Golf Course Development Group does have the full support of the city in its endeavor.
“Would be nice to see them resurrect the golf course and get it back going again,” Mayor Ben Nelson said. “It’s always a good thing to see citizens take matters into their own hands, whether or not they’re successful, all of us are rooting for them. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to see them succeed.”