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City manager believes Temple Terrace can help fund golf course sprinkler system

Charles Stephenson said the city could likely pay the $509,000 over two years.
Spanish moss covered oak trees line a fairway at the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club. The 18-hole course is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. [MONICA HERNDON, MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times]
Spanish moss covered oak trees line a fairway at the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club. The 18-hole course is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. [MONICA HERNDON, MONICA HERNDON | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Oct. 24, 2019

Temple Terrace City Manager Charles Stephenson told the City Council last week that he feels confident that he can come up with the money in the budget to help the Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club replace the irrigation system on the golf course.

“It’s one of those things that I think is workable particularly if we do it over a couple of fiscal years, being later this year and 2021,’’ he said.

The proposal, for the council to pay $509,000 of the nearly $1.2 million cost, is expected to be on the agenda for the council’s consideration Nov. 5.

The club’s general manager appeared before the council last month and asked for help in paying for the irrigation system for the golf course, a key need in the effort to recruit new members. Jim Musick told the council that the club has added 89 members and greatly increased business from weddings and other events since his team took over early last year. He noted that the club has kept up-to-date on quarterly lease payments, which add up to $125,000 per year.

Musick said the pipes in the sprinkler system, installed in the 1950s, have deteriorated, resulting in about 300 leaks per year. The automatic system that turns on the sprinklers is working on only six of the 18 holes, he said.

The city owns the buildings on the property and the course, the only 18-hole course in Florida to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Temple Terrace, founded in 1925, is one of the first planned golf communities in the nation.

Musick said some club members have pledged money to help pay for the irrigation system, and the club has won $305,000 in grants, a $50,000 grant from the Hillsborough County Historic Preservation Challenge Grant program and $255,000 from the Southwest Florida Water Management District, the result of the club showing the management district that a new system would cut down water use by 33 percent, saving 84,000 gallons a day.

The city would pay $370,000 for the piping and about $139,000 for installing it.

Council Member Frank Chillura said he’d like to have a document that defines the responsibility of both sides, noting that if the club doesn’t raise its part of the money, the city would not put up its money.

“It needs to be clearly defined as to who’s doing what,’’ he said. “And once you have that, then we move forward. Because we’re not talking about a few thousand dollars here. This is big money.’’

Addressing the audience, Chillura said, “Whether you like the country club or you don’t like the golf course, whatever it may be, it adds value to the city of Temple Terrace, period. Your home has more value because you have this in your city.’’


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