St. Johns County is working with TPMA to analyze and evaluate “thousands” of surveys sent to area residents to find out what they want for the future of the World Golf Village property the county agreed to acquire.

The St. Johns County Board of County Commissions voted April 16 to buy the 36.7-acre site that surrounds the former World Golf Hall of Fame for $5.5 million from the World Golf Village Foundation Inc.

The deal includes the PGA Tour Productions building and surrounding parking lots and pathways. The county already owned the Hall of Fame building.

The surveys will be collected through May.

“It’s been an overwhelmingly positive response,” Commission Chair Sarah Arnold said in an April 26 news release.

She said that creating a formal plan for the site could take up to a year. Arnold is District 2 commissioner, where the land is located.

According to its website, TPMA was founded in 1989, “around the idea of making workforce a major component of economic development.”

The county agreed to lease the IMAX Theater, which it already owned, and the PGA Tour Productions building to the foundation through March 2025.

According to Arnold, resident ideas include health care and entertainment, adding public reception is largely positive, save for “a handful of people who don’t live in the area.”

Arnold said the county will move forward with the “highest and best use” for the property after the TPMA surveys are reviewed and synthesized, calling the property a “countywide asset.”

“They want something that scans all of the county demographics,” she said. “That includes young families and retirees.”

“The IMAX will stay,” Arnold said, as well as the golf elements. The county did not purchase the courses.

Commissioners voted 6-1 in favor of the purchase with District 4 Commissioner Krista Joseph voting no, saying public safety was more important.

“While some may criticize the use of public funds to acquire the World Golf Foundation assets, it’s crucial to recognize the broader context,” County Administrator Joy Andrews said in the release.

“By seizing control through this acquisition, the community as a whole, gains the power to shape its future,” Andrews said.

“By maintaining control over the development process, we ensure that only what’s best for our residents will be featured in the revitalized World Golf Village.”

The World Golf Foundation announced in July 2022 it would close the St. Augustine Hall of Fame and relocate it to its original home in Pinehurst, North Carolina. The museum shut down Sept. 1, 2023.

The Hall of Fame was founded in Pinehurst in 1974 and moved to St. Augustine in 1998 as the centerpiece of the World Golf Village resort community, at International Golf Parkway west of Interstate 95.

Source: Jacksonville Daily Record