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County views proposed changes to Beverly Hills plan

County commissioners got their first look Tuesday at proposed changes to the master development plan for Beverly Hills.

One would help the financially challenged community recreation association and another would provide a future home for a Beverly Hills Boys & Girls Club.

When the Beverly Hills Recreation Association was first formed, it couldn't borrow money. County officials at the time worried that the group could accrue debt without county oversight. If the group was not solvent, the county would have to take over the organization's facilities, according to Commissioner Vicki Phillips.

But as the buildings and facilities operated by the private organization have aged, officials have recognized that the group should be able to try to keep them up on its own.

If the organization does not remain solvent, the facilities revert to Citrus County, and the county would have to pay for needed repairs and upgrades, Phillips said.

In addition, many in the Beverly Hills community do not want to see the county take over the facilities because that would open them up to the entire county, she said.

Under the proposal, which will come for a final County Commission vote on Tuesday, the recreation association would be allowed in the future to borrow against its facilities - with commission approval.

Phillips said the next challenge for the recreation association, which owns and operates a clubhouse and a swimming pool in the Civic Circle, would be to find the necessary financing and prove its ability to pay back any loans.

Earlier this year, the organization struggled to pay its estimated $10,000 a month in expenses and sought help from another community organization, the Beverly Hills Civic Association, which has a number of common board members with the recreation association.

That idea was pulled from the table. Some in the community objected to raising the question of conflict of interest, noting that each club had a different origin and a different function.

The other change proposed for the Beverly Hills development plan is the addition of a new "civic site'' to the plan allowing the construction of a Boys & Girls Club.

The donated 1.96-acre property is next to the community's skate park.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at 564-3621 or behrendt@sptimes.com.

UP NEXT

Commission vote

The County Commission will vote on proposed changes to the Beverly Hills master development plan at a meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Citrus County Courthouse, 110 N. Apopka Ave., Room 102, Inverness.

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