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The owners of the Golden Gate Country Club have offered to sell the 160-acre golf course property. Here's what you should know. Megan Kearney, mkearney@news-press.com

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Collier County leaders on Tuesday signed off on a loan for up to $29 million to close on a 167-acre Golden Gate golf course by the end of the month.

County commissioners voted 4-1 to approve the move, which will set up future discussions about what the county will ultimately do with the parcel located at the intersection of Collier Boulevard and Golden Gate Parkway.

Commissioner Donna Fiala, who had voted to move forward with the purchase two weeks ago, cast the lone dissenting vote.

She said after the meeting she felt there were plans for the course underway that she was not aware of and objected to it being closed to golfers over the summer.

"Their vote is to let it sit there idle and do nothing," Fiala said.

Although she is not a golfer herself, Fiala said the property would be perfect for a municipal golf course that would be affordable.

Previous coverage: Collier to buy Golden Gate golf course for $29.1 million

More: Golden Gate golf course where homes planned offered to county for $28 million

"I just think it's good for the community," she said.

For some on the board having the county operate a golf course is not an appealing option. Others have suggested a compromise that could include a 12-hole course.

Other potential future public uses for the property could include a Veterans Administration nursing home, housing, government buildings, active sports facilities and passive green space, county staff has said. 

Public outreach is planned to begin in late 2019 or early 2020, and a rezoning is expected to come to commissioners later in 2020 or the following year.

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Commissioner Andy Solis said he recently visited Oklahoma City, where a municipal golf course had been closed and turned into a series of linear parks.

"It's really nice," he said. "It's a real nice amenity."

Deputy County Manager Nick Casalanguida said the county will continue to cut the grass on the property and figure out how to maintain it at some level. But, at least for now, it won't be operated as a golf course, he said.

Connect with the reporter at patrick.riley@naplesnews.com or on Twitter @PatJRiley.

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