Neglected former golf club prompts county to get tough on overgrown lawns

Weeds grow at the entrance to the former West End Golf Club. (Photo Aileyahu Shanes/WUFT News)

Cut your grass, Alachua County.

The county is cracking down on the height of grass and weeds on private property, and an abandoned golf course is to blame.

Anyone having grass over 12 inches will have to cut it or pay for it to be cut. And Merihelen Wheeler, District 3 Alachua County Commissioner, said enforcement starts now.

“We are ready to go now,” said Wheeler. “The information has come back from Tallahassee so that we are good to go.”

The West End Golf Club in Newberry prompted the update in the ordinance. The owner closed the golf course in 2019. It is now abandoned and an eyesore for neighbors. Windows are boarded up, grass grows high and garbage is scattered throughout the property.

Clair Hedrick said she used to play at the golf course when she first moved to Newberry. She lives right across the street.

“It’s disappointing,” she said. “We’re right on the corner here, so it’s right across the street. Every time I go out, I’m reminded. And it’s not that it’s overrun by trees and stuff. The buildings are still there, and they are being overrun. And it’s just gross.”

The owner of the former fun-filled golf club is still trying to sell the property. Many in the area, including Hedrick, said they want the space to be turned into a park instead of another housing or condo development.

“They’ve been talking over the years about greenway areas and parks and stuff like that,” said Hedrick. “If you can’t do a golf course, that would be awesome.”

Wheeler said she is confident the property will be turned into something everyone will be comfortable with.

A sign points to tees 1 through 10 at West End Golf Course, which closed in 2019. (Photo Aileyahu Shanes/WUFT News)

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