For once, Parkland is benefiting from the housing bust.
At the height of the housing boom, the city had offered $6 million to the owner of an 8.8 acre private property along Holmberg Road. The owner wasn’t interested at that time, but has now verbally agreed to the city’s offer of $1.86 million.
The Beaty parcel, located at the northeast corner of Holmberg Road and Northwest 87th Avenue, is currently the only one along Holmberg Road from the city library to the equestrian center that is not owned by the city. The city has plans for a linear park in the area.
“This is going to be one of the crowning jewels of our city,” Mayor Michael Udine said. “The parcel is something that has always come up over the years at strategic planning sessions. We now have the opportunity to buy that piece of property.”
“The way it is zoned now, up to three houses can be built on the parcel,” Udine said. “No one in the city will be happy if that happens. We can now buy it and add to our green belt.”
The city will take money out of its reserves to pay for the property, City Manager Caryn Gardner-Young said. “An opportunity like this does not come every day. A few years ago, it would have cost us $6 to $9 million. The housing market helped.”
Jim Weiss, resident and secretary of the Parkland Historical Society, was happy with the city’s decision. “I think that is a piece of property perfect to be city-owned. We shouldn’t go down Holmberg Road and see three homes.”
Commissioner Jared Moskowitz wanted to know if the city would be better off getting a loan rather than taking money out of the reserves. Gardner-Young replied that taking money out of the reserves made more sense as the city would still have enough money left to cover emergencies.
The Beaty parcel is not the only piece of land that the city is looking to purchase. City officials have already approved spending $4.25 million to buy 53 acres of land in the 1,900-acre Wedge area which was part of Palm Beach County before a boundary change in 2009. Some of the land in the area is already part of the city and developers are readying plans for construction, but the rest is in unincorporated Broward County. According to Gardner-Young, the city would take a loan to buy the land in the Wedge area.