The battle to save Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club from development continues. The developer, Wheelock Communities, now plans to construct up to 1200 units in the form of a multi-use commercial/residential development on the site. Residents of Pinellas County are all too familiar with the track record of the county with regard to development in the area, allowing developers to gradually consume any open, green space left. The public is already aware of the results of this approach. They are concerned with population density, high traffic volumes, evacuation routes, water resources, infrastructure and flooding issues related to overdevelopment. Loss of dwindling open/green space is another casualty.

bald eagle with baby little blue heron sponbill

Golf courses in Pinellas County are increasingly becoming prime targets for development, despite the fact that they provide refuge for many threatened species whose habitat has been eliminated by development in other locations within the county. Bardmoor is no exception. Currently, there are four federal/state listed, threatened species verified as living, breeding and feeding on the site: tricolored heron, little blue heron, wood stork and roseate spoonbill. In addition, there is an active bald eagle nest with two eaglets on the driving range, a large population of otters including a mother with four kits, and other species covered by the state’s Imperiled Species Management Plan. The presence of these species is an indication of clean water, plentiful food sources and overall environmental health. Other than the far northeast part of the county, there is very little county park land or privately owned green space left on land that can sustain these species besides golf courses.

tricolored heron word stork

Bardmoor is not alone. The members of Save the Tides are involved in a similar battle regarding the now closed Tides Golf Club in Seminole, and have been able to stave off developers for several years, although a permit was issued by the county in March to tear down the historic clubhouse on the property. Like Bardmoor, there is great diversity of wildlife on the site, including many listed, threatened species. On the west side of the property is an estuary which abuts a Conservation Preservation area. The golf course, like the Bardmoor course, provides a watershed that filters and cleans runoff from the surrounding areas before discharging into nearby water bodies.

Because out of state developers continue to focus on area golf courses for development, Save Bardmoor and other supporters joined a Green Space Rally hosted by Save the Tides on March 27. The group rallied along Park Boulevard in front of Waterfront Park to show solidarity and bring attention to the fight to preserve recreational/open space in Pinellas County. A meeting was held afterward, outlining steps forward in the preservation of these and other important open spaces.

You can help! Please contact your commissioners, who will decide the fate of our golf courses