Homestead - South Dade

Homestead council approves fed funds for blight to boost golf course

Keys Gate Country Club in Homestead.
Keys Gate Country Club in Homestead.

One gated Homestead community is a step closer to getting its golf course back — glitzier than ever.

On Tuesday night, a majority of the Homestead City Council approved to lend $3.5 million of federal money to mega developer Wayne Rosen to renovate Keys Gate Golf and Country Club. The vote was 4-2, with Jon Burgess and Stephen Shelly dissenting.

The funds, meant for alleviating blight, will go toward a golf course Rosen bought last year and shuttered. Rosen contends the revamp will serve as a “job-creation initiative" and that at least 43 of 85 jobs would go to Homestead residents.

The application will be sent to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for review. If approved, the council will get the final vote.

Council members Tuesday added several conditions, including having Rosen provide a business plan, sketches of what the golf course will look like, and details of how the $3.5 million will be spent.

Shelly called the proposal vague: “We don't have enough information. My concern is that when it comes back from HUD, it's going to be too late to have this discussion.’’

Other council members felt confident because the proposal will come back for final approval.

"When it comes back to us we will take another look,’’ said Vice Mayor Patricia Fairclough. “But if we keep coming back with these term sheets, we'll be here … forever."

Rosen’s plan includes a gym, a pool, a remodeled clubhouse and a wedding venue — plus more than 1,000 homes surrounding the fairways, as well as a 400-unit hotel.

The funds would come from a federally guaranteed loan backed by the city’s future Community Development Block Grants, money allotted to benefit low-income communities or to eliminate slums or blight.

In the November election, Rosen and Rosen-affiliated companies and individuals gave more than $45,000 to four winning candidates: Fairclough, Burgess, Lawrence Roth and Mayor Jeffrey Porter.

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