VERO BEACH – The county's third attempt to buy the former Dodgertown Golf Course turned into a run, with the city council voting in favor of the county's new offer for the property.
The council agreed, 4-1, to accept the county's $ 2.45 million offer for the former 35-acre golf course and the first chance to redeem it if the property it was no longer necessary. The county is also committed to planting trees, creating a walking trail and removing references in the contract to a future hotel on the property.
"We think this will benefit everyone," said County Administrator Jason Brown, the county administrator. "The parameters of this agreement present a win-win-win situation."
The county had scratched twice with previous offers to buy the property. Commissioner Joe Flescher stated that he had worked with Councilor Tony Young to come up with an offer that would benefit both entities.
"Our offer is for the benefit of all our citizens," said Flescher. It's a "best offer we can all digest".
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Young said the county's proposal responded to his concerns over previous offers, including the city's chances of buying back the property, as well as the county's plan in this regard.
"It will be a much better asset for the community than today," said Young.
Councilor Laura Moss argued that the city should retain ownership.
"After all that has been said about keeping Vero Vero, we do not even keep Vero anymore," she said. "We sell the city."
Moss and City Councilor Val Zudans criticized Young, saying his involvement undermined the efforts of City Manager Jim O'Connor to get a better deal.
"What worries me is that the negotiation has been totally sloppy," said Zudans. "It could have gone a lot, a lot better."
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The county needs 2,000 parking spaces as part of its ten-year lease with Major League Baseball in Historic Dodgertown. The county is currently using the former property of the golf course as an additional parking lot, but officials are concerned that the space may not be available if the property is sold to developers.
Zudans said the city was in a prime position to get the best price for the property if it had been better negotiated. He voted for the deal, he said, because the MLB could generate business for the city.
Young defended his involvement, saying that he did not intentionally harm anyone.
"I think the agreement that exists is something that supports the community," he said. "Overall, it brings to the community what we want."