It’s hard to believe that it has been over two years since Barton Tuck first proposed his plans for the future of Killearn Golf and Country Club. His initial meeting with members in October of 2014 was met with concern, outrage, enthusiasm and uncertainty. No one likes change, particularly in their own lives. At first it was the dues paying members of KCC. It quickly spread to the Killearn HOA and to the general populace of Killearn Estates.
What was proposed was a business decision by a business owner to hopefully refurbish and revitalize an entity that was in desperate need of an infusion of energy and cash. Closing down a portion of the business (the North course) in order to have the capital to invest in the infrastructure and amenities of KCC as a whole has been met with a myriad of lawsuits, legal wrangling, judgments, meetings and, unfortunately, neighbors against neighbors.
The judicial ruling that the North be allowed to close is done. There is no going back. While a minority of people, whether Killearn residents and/or Killearn CC members have sought many means with which to block Mr. Tuck’s plans.The vast majority of those same constituents approve of the plans and want them to be implemented. This has been demonstrated by surveys and polls taken since 2014.
There have been many mailers from a group known as Preserve Killearn that have had demonstrably false and inflammatory statements especially relating to home values. Home values have not gone down in Killearn Estates but very well may if this matter is not settled and soon. This same very vocal minority, with cheering and booing, persuaded the City Planning Commission to vote 3-2 against the rezoning necessary for Mr. Tuck to proceed; whether this will influence the City Commissioners is unknown.
If Mr. Tuck is not able to go forward, what will happen to KCC and the whole of Killearn Estates? Anyone who understands simple business practices can readily see that it is not in Mr. Tuck’s interest to pour more revenue into KCC for the next 4 years until his financial obligation ends. At that time it will no longer be a matter of what is best for KCC or Killearn Estates as a whole, but what will be the best business decision. after all, this is a business. The opponents of Mr. Tuck need to be thinking of the big picture and how it will affect the community as a whole; not merely of their own personal issues.
When looking at a map of Tallahassee, it is apparent KCC is the crown jewel of Killearn Estates. It is the centerpiece of the neighborhood. If it no longer exists, there will be streets instead of fairways and traffic that will make today’s concerns seem small. With the opening of Welaunee to the east of Killearn, residents need to be aware of competing with new construction when selling their homes. There is no contest. New homes win every time. However, since Welaunee does not have a golf course in its plan, Killearn can be a magnet for revitalization.
A part of Mr. Tuck’s plan includes a gated community for mature adults. There is a desperate need for this type of neighborhood in Tallahassee. Killearn Estates in general would benefit and this infusion of new neighbors would be a positive and much needed step forward for Tallahassee.
This does not need to be a win or lose proposition. Everyone can benefit from a plan that means Killearn Golf and Country Club has new and better amenities. It is disheartening, however, to see the vast amount of time, energy and money that has been utilized by both the opponents and the proponents in this matter, especially the time factor. What a waste.
Sharon Mears has been a full-time realtor in Tallahassee for over 13 years.