By DOTTY NIST
With the recent approval of a final contract for purchase of the DeFuniak Springs Country Club by Walton County, plans are for the historic country club to go under county operation by a target date of April 1 or sooner.
The purchase contract was approved, and the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) chairman was authorized to sign the contract in a 3-0 vote of the board members at the March 12 BCC regular meeting at the South Walton Annex.
The vote came in the wake of approximately three months’ discussion on the possibility of the county acquiring the country club, a Feb. 20 public workshop on the topic, and a previous BCC vote on Feb. 26 to move forward with a purchase contract in the amount of current club liabilities, approximately $48,000.
The purchase includes, as detailed in a recent analysis and proposal report by a BCC-appointed committee, the country club’s 192 acres, which contains four spring-fed lakes, an 18-hole golf course (52+ acres), a 25,000-square-foot swimming pool, a 6,000-square-foot building, six smaller buildings, and $62,500 worth of maintenance equipment.
The $48,000 to be paid by the county will allow the seller, DeFuniak Springs Country Club, Inc., to pay off existing debt.
The country club, which has been struggling financially in recent years, had approached Walton County about potential acquisition of the property by the county. The county acquisition will allow the golf course, which was created through the efforts of local businessmen in the early 1920s, to stay in operation. The course is recognized as part of the Florida Historic Golf Trail, which celebrates the state’s golf heritage by featuring publicly-accessible golf course throughout Florida.
Plans are for the country club to be renamed the Walton County Golf Course and Sports Park and for affordable recreational opportunities to be provided there for the public, including not only golf but basketball, swimming, and possibly walking trails and Frisbee golf. Details about memberships, fees, and possible public use of some park facilities at no charge will be under discussion by the BCC at upcoming meetings.
Additional information on the country club, including the county analysis and proposal, may be viewed online at: http://tinyurl.com/y2srwpjc