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  • Writer's pictureTom Reilly

Alachua County Purchases West End Golf Course For $3.8M

Alan Festo, Nora O'Neill

Gainesville Sun

The sale of the West End Golf Course in Jonesville to Alachua County has closed, according to a new release from Coldwell Banker Commercial M.M. Parrish Realtors.

Alachua County commissioners voted unanimously on May 28 to take over a purchasing contract for the property held by Viking Companies, the owner of Celebration Pointe, which filed for bankruptcy in March.

The $3.8 million to purchase the property at 12830 W. Newberry Road across from the Tioga Town Center came from the Wild Spaces & Public Places voter-approved sales tax designated for acquiring and improving land space in the county.

"It's something the community cried out for, something we all knew was needed. Through private investment and public partnership, we're proud to have been able to conquer the hurdles and realize the vision," said Craig Carter, part of Coldwell Banker's CRE ProTeam, along with Dean Cheshire and Michelle Carter.

According to the release, the golf course opened with nine holes in 1969 and, by the end of 1970, developed into an "18-hole, fully lighted par 3 course with driving range, putting green and chipping area."

The golf course property, which has been closed since 2019, has undergone many votes and discussions in recent years related to its future.

In 2022, the commission voted to deny a developer’s proposal to change the land-use designation for the site from recreational to low-density residential. A 70-home residential development called Tara Club was proposed for the property.

Prior to that decision a sprawling mixed-use development was proposed with homes, a hotel and stores by the previous land owners. That later shifted to a 129-home development — with an option to build up to 140 homes — along with donating around 36 acres of the property to create the third-largest green space park in Alachua County.

All of the ideas for development were met largely with pushback from community members and commissioners who said they wanted to prioritize accessible and functional green space for the community.

Now, commissioners say they’re pleased to move forward with the purchase of the land to use recreationally.

One such upcoming recreation event is the 2025 World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships, an international sporting competition to be held in the county next year. The event will host nearly 4,000 athletes from 80 different countries in 24 different athletic events.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, however, as part of Florida next year's budget, vetoed a request from from Rep. Chuck Clemons, R-Newberry, and Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, for $2.7 million intended to help with the event.

That appropriations request was made on behalf of Viking Companies. The funds were to be used in part to build a new regulation warm-up track next to the Alachua County Sports & Event Center in Celebration Pointe.

Alachua County spokesperson Mark Sexton said Monday that "We do not foresee any impact to West End."

"The county has devoted $1 million in bed tax to this event, and we need about $650,000 of that to build the cross country track and the field for some of the throwing events, and that's covered in our share."

He said commissioners will hear an update from the Alachua County Local Organizing Committee, the nonprofit tasked with operating and running the event, during its July 7 meeting with regards to a "Plan B."

"They understand that that's their responsibility and they have a plan for doing that," Sexton said.

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