WINTER GARDEN, Fla. — The city of Winter Garden has locked in a plan to preserve Stoneybrook West Golf Course as greenspace.

The course closed in December of 2018, falling into deteriorating conditions.  

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In 2005, Dave Vander Weide moved into a new home inside the StoneyBrook West community. 

“It was beautiful,” Vander Weide explains. “The course set up was magnificent and it was pristine.”

Living a short chip and putt away from a golf course is what appealed to him, but the view currently has some hazards.

“A lot of weeds,” Vander Weide said. “We are on one of the tee boxes but that is all weeds at this point also.”

An auction was supposed to take place for the course, clubhouse, and cart barn this past Friday, but the city of Winter Garden offered the trustee of the property $2 million, which the trustee accepted.

But late Monday afternoon, two last minute offers threatened to derail the city’s plan. One offer was for $3 million. In the end, the judge felt the city’s offer is the best for the community.

“It’s in both of our interest for this community to be successful,” Winter Garden City Manager Mike Bollhoefer said. “For one, we want to make sure their property values stay where they are, or increase because it’s great for our tax base. And two, it is important for them to have their property values to stay high.”

Once the sale becomes final, the city plans to sell the HOA the golf course for $2 million. For the next 20 years, homeowners will see an $85 assessment on their property taxes.

“If we didn’t own it somebody else would,” Vander Weide said. “We have no idea what is going on with that. I think that minimal investment is well worth it.”

So does real estate agent Ron Ziolkowski, who has been selling homes in the community for more than 15 years.

“It is a nothing burger,” said Ziolkowski aka “Ron The Realtor”. “You are looking at $7 a month, under .25 cents a day to eliminate that X factor that has been holding you back on property values compared to the surrounding area.”

According to the Stoneybrook HOA, they are undecided on what they will do with the course when they take ownership from the city.

They hope to have a decision within the next 12 months if it will still be a golf course, or be transformed into a park.