Residents of a private, gated community in Boca Raton feel the city is cheating them out of a lifestyle they’ve enjoyed for years, simply to provide golfing opportunities to the public.
The Boca Raton Resort & Club donated the 30-acre golf course at Boca Country Club to the city last year, and city officials plan to open it to the public Nov. 1. But the city will permanently shut down a swimming pool in the development and temporarily close tennis courts for repairs on Oct. 1, possibilities that were never discussed publicly when the city accepted the donation.
That’s drawn the ire of some residents at Boca Golf & Tennis, a 960-home private community at Boca Country Club. They said they bought homes with the understanding there would be a pool and a tennis court. Some also expressed concerns about security and traffic with the course opening to the public.
They believe the city is breaking contractual obligations, but a Boca Raton spokeswoman said closing the pool and tennis courts doesn’t violate any type of agreement the residents may have had.
Sue Greenberg, 65, has been coming to her winter home at Boca Golf & Tennis with her husband for over two decades. She’s an avid tennis player and her husband is an ardent swimmer. The two seasonal residents from New Jersey are set to travel to South Florida for their annual six-month stay in October, but now she doesn’t know what she’s coming down for.
“They’re taking away my lifestyle,” Greenberg said. “I’m really distraught.
“I’ve been coming to this community for 24 years. I thought this was going to be my retirement. And I’ve made a lot of friends and I was very happy. And now I’m a little miserable.”
The donation by the Boca Raton Resort & Club allowed Boca Raton to continue offering a public golf course after it had already agreed to sell its municipal course by Glades Road and the Florida Turnpike to GL Homes for $65 million.
Although the deal was agreed upon in October 2020, Boca Raton Resort & Club retains control of the club at 17751 Boca Club Blvd. until Oct. 1, when the city will officially take over. The immediate “primary focus” for the city is getting the golf course up and running, Boca Raton City Manager Leif Ahnell said. That means the city will shut down all of the other facilities on Oct. 1.
The city is spending upwards of $8 million to renovate the entire property, including the tennis courts and clubhouse, Ahnell said. While he didn’t give a definitive answer regarding the pool, Ahnell said yearly operating costs would be $250,000, which is “not feasible.” A city spokeswoman confirmed it’s unlikely a public pool will remain on site.
“I feel misrepresented,” Greenberg said. “I was paying and I had rights and now I’ve got nothing. I think they have nerve. I didn’t walk into their neighborhood and take away their lifestyle. Why are they coming and doing this in mine?”
Bob Trinchetto has lived in his Boca Golf & Tennis home for 25 years but says he’s considering selling due to the city’s decisions. Trinchetto, whose home is adjacent to the course, said he’s worried about security concerns as well as potential traffic issues in the community.
He feels city officials have ignored Boca Golf & Tennis residents. He pointed out that the club is in unincorporated Palm Beach County, meaning they’re technically not city residents.
“They’ve converted a private community into a public entity,” Trinchetto said. “These issues could have been rectified had they just sat with us and tried to negotiate and carve out a little niche to protect these homes
“It seems like everyone has turned their back on us and we’re collateral damage.”
Trinchetto also was upset about the pool’s closing, saying, “We counted on that pool being the one to take our children and grandchildren when they come down.” He had hoped for a compromise in which the pool could remain open to paying members, but a city spokeswoman said that’s not an option.