Alachua County to buy West End Golf Course

Anna Prizzia speaks at the joint meeting with the Children's Trust of Alachua County.
County Commissioner Anna Prizzia said buying West End Golf Course is a good deal for county residents, even if a major sporting event planned for next year does not occur.
Photo by Glory Reitz

The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted Tuesday to move forward with an option to purchase the West End Golf Course, taking over the purchase contract from Viking Companies.  

West End Golf Course has been vacant since 2019, and Alachua County has denied development proposals that would change the land use from recreational. In February, Mainstreet reported that Viking Companies, the owner of Celebration Pointe, had entered a contract to purchase the property and use it for the upcoming 2025 World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships.

At the time, Alachua County said it had not been involved in the process to place the property under contract. However, Tuesday’s vote allows Alachua County to take over the purchase from Viking Companies.  

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The closing must come before July 31, according to backup documents, with a goal to finalize by June 15. The purchase price is listed at $3.8 million, which will come from the Wild Spaces Public Places program funded by a one-cent surtax. 

The contract says that time is of the essence. The 2025 World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships will start in a year with construction needed for a variety of outdoor sports. But the BOCC said the county would purchase the land even without the World Masters tournament on the horizon. 

Commissioner Anna Prizzia said the purchase of West End is a good deal for residents today, tomorrow and the next day, even without the international sporting event.  

The commissioners and County Manager Michele Lieberman said the West End property has been on the county’s master parks plan for a while.  

Requests for housing development proposals 

The commission also directed staff to open a housing project for proposals. The source selection process would allow developers to submit ideas for single-family development on 13 acres near Lincoln Middle School.  

Alachua County originally aimed to build affordable housing rental units on the property through an agreement with Ability Housing. However, the county backed out of the project after pushback from surrounding citizens. In May 2023, the BOCC voted to purchase the land from Ability Housing in order to end the project and prevent lawsuits. 

Then, the BOCC directed staff to hold community meetings to evaluate what area residents would like to see at the site. Single-family housing came back first, followed by mixed use and recreational.  

The commissioners weighed the possibility of subsidizing the housing, using a shared equity model, or selling it for market rate development.  

The BOCC instituted a policy, driven by the Ability Housing development, for no new affordable housing east of Main Street.  

Prizzia said the shared equity model, even if used for workforce housing, would still be affordable housing—violating the policy.  

The request, approved unanimously by the BOCC, asks for proposals that use a shared equity model or market rate housing.  

Commissioner Chuck Chestnut said he was tired of having the same conversation about housing in east Gainesville. He said the same types of market rate housing should be built in the east as the west. He said this new proposal should follow suit or have a split model like the Heartwood neighborhood run by the city of Gainesville. 

Cameras in school zones 

Last year, the state of Florida allowed cities and counties to begin placing speed cameras in school zones. High Springs already implemented the program, along with other counties across Florida.  

The BOCC joined with a unanimous vote.  

The program would set up speed cameras that will take pictures of cars traveling 11 miles per hour or more than the posted speed limit. The fine would be $100 and be classified as a uniform traffic citation if not paid within 30 days.  

The cameras would be in operation starting 30 minutes before school begins and ending 30 minutes after classes finish for the day. Throughout the summer, if the school zone lights are flashing, then the cameras would be active.  

According to a two-day study in Alachua County, more than 100 drivers exceed the speed limit by 10 or more miles per hour in 18 of 22 school zones.  

Tuesday’s vote directed staff to advertise the ordinance, which will return for a final vote. Alachua County will also need to perform a 30-day public awareness campaign about the new cameras.  

The vendor chosen to run the cameras will execute the campaign, according to county staff.

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Jan sugalski

Bigger is always better as we know. When the commissioners and builders put up “housing” developments on the property, I hope they will first take an elementary aesthetics course.

John Thomas

“The purchase price is listed at $3.8 million, which will come from the” tax payers of Alachua County. Fixed it for you.

Beal stroud

Another wasteful purchase by our irresponsible county commission. The wild spaces fund is just a slush fund for un needed land purchases . Also takes land off the tax rolls which increases taxes for the taxpayers

Charles Courtney

I like the idea of speed cameras in active school zones. However, I would only support such a move if the vendor is paid a flat fee (monthly, annually, etc. ). A fee per violation incentives the vendor to tweak/gerrymander the system to encourage violations as has been well documented with red light cameras.


Should be used for something that would create revenue and jobs

Eduardo Suarez

Buy a golf course in Newberry, but no garbage drop off center. Par for the course Alachua County


Don’t let these people BUY your vote. They have wasted millions by turning down an affordable housing grant pus they have raised your taxes every year plus do not care about roads. Vote out any incumbent on the County or City Commission.


They bought this overpriced land to build a building on it. Surely there was cheaper land somewhere else to put this building. There is a patch of land they bought on NW 43rd street that is just sitting there and nothing is done with that. Why not there?