PALM BEACH GARDENS – A plan to add a lazy river and waterslide to PGA National’s Resort has tentative support from Palm Beach Gardens City Council, but some residents and golfers at Northern Palm Beach County’s most famous golf course are concerned about the changes.
The move to overhaul the resort’s pool comes with other changes to the core of the luxury resort, golf course, and gated community, including a new pickleball court, updated gatehouse, and a new roundabout for members to gain access to the clubhouse.
It reflects a new focus for PGA National, which, like many luxury destinations, is geared towards creating more family-friendly amenities that appeal to a wider group of travelers. The project’s planners said the redevelopment of the pool area will encourage families to stay at the PGA National and potentially buy homes there in the future.
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Neighbors in PGA National concerned about noise, appearance of a green sheet
Some who already live in PGA National are undecided about the plan to add a 39-foot water slide on the southwest side of the resort.
“There has been a lot of discussion in the PGA community for the past few days,” said Ken Tuma, a project planner at West Palm Beach’s urban design studio, told the city council. “There was some disagreement on the waterslide.”
Tuma said planners met with people who live on Old Meadow Way in the Patio Homes neighborhood, which is separated from the new pool area by the driving range. Local residents are concerned about the noise and the look of the green water slide that will be visible from some of their backyards.
No resident of the neighboring Patio Homes publicly shared their concerns, but Councilor Mark Marciano, who lives in PGA National, echoed some of their thoughts.
“This water slide looks like it was being planed with shoes on at one point in the resort. That water slide placement just doesn’t seem to fit there,” he said.
“The idea of having a water slide that looks down at you on the (driving) range, looks over at you on the green, sees the kids scream and has fun … it takes away the value and feel of a golf resort first Place, “added Marciano.
Construction of the waterslide would require the resort demolish an existing golf ball sales building on the golf course and get the City of Palm Beach Gardens to convert the area from zoning the golf course to a commercial zone.
The water slide complex, which would rise just over three stories, would be directly above the driving range and would now replace two putting greens on the site. The putting greens would be moved, said Tuma.
He said the plan uses three levels of landscaping to obscure views of the driving range and houses along the entire route. Vice Mayor Chelsea Reed said the city’s staff must work with the resort to keep residents and golfers happy with the changes.
“I know there is a little bit of what we call NIMBY, ‘not in my backyard’ for everyone, but I feel like our city has done everything to mitigate this and I look forward to that everyone is happy, ”she said.
The PGA National Resort currently has six pools: the main resort guest pool, a children’s pool, and four smaller spa pools near the spa building. Mayor Rachelle Litt, who has lived in the residential complex for 30 years, said she supported the renovation of the children’s pool.
“After raising three children, some of the best memories we have were our weekends at the PGA National Pool. It was an excursion every single weekend, ”said Litt. “Those were things that brought us together as a family.”
The city council approved the motion to build the lazy river and water slide in first reading on November 4th with 4-0 votes. Councilor Marcie Tinsley, citing a conflict of interest with her family’s investment in a contractor for the project, declined to vote.
But the matter is not over. The Council will vote again on the request at its next meeting on December 2nd.