SEMINOLE COUNTY, FL (August 28, 2018)- At today’s regularly scheduled Board of County Commissioners (BCC) Meeting, a decision was made to purchase Rolling Hills, a 98 acre former golf course in Unincorporated Longwood, at the purchase price of $3.99 million.
Ultimately, Seminole County will redevelop Rolling Hills into a public recreational park. Phase I of the project includes the addition of nature trails, a picnic pavilion, signage, vehicle and bike parking, pedestrian and bike access, as well as landscape improvements in natural areas. Potential future phased projects for the park may include passive open spaces, fishing dock/areas, disc/foot golf, and a dog park. Playgrounds, gardens and sand volleyball courts are also included in the potential long-term plans for the property.
The purchase of the Rolling Hills property was contingent upon approval from the Florida Communities Trust (FCT) exchanging a previously awarded grant to Rolling Hills. This type of land exchange is the first of its kind in FCT history.
- 1926: The Rolling Hills Golf Course began operation;
- 1959-1980’s: Single-family residences were developed around the Golf Course;
- 2004: Seminole County was awarded a FCT grant for $1.74 million to develop a park in Winter Springs, which became known as Jetta Point;
- June 2010: Seminole County BCC placed the Jetta Point project in abeyance due to intense opposition to the project from neighboring property owners;
- October 7, 2016: Seminole County formally submitted an application to FCT for a land exchange, trading the Jetta Hills property for Rolling Hills;
- October 26, 2016: Seminole County BCC executed a contract for the purchase of the Rolling Hills property. Contingencies of the contract included the County receiving approval from FCT to transfer the grant from Jetta Point to Rolling Hills;
- February 8, 2017: Seminole County was granted conditional approval from FCT for the land exchange, which included completion of an environmental assessment and commitment to remediate Rolling Hills;
- February 14, 2018: Seminole County worked with Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to complete a formal assessment of Rolling Hills, which resulted in the detection of limited arsenic and dieldrin contamination, and the County submitted a remediation plan; the arsenic remediation plan was approved on this date by FDEP;
- March 2018: Approximately 1,160 property owners within the Rolling Hills neighborhood were asked to respond to a petition for the creation of a Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU); this measure was initially proposed by neighborhood residents to support the Rolling Hills clean up through a special assessment over the course of several years;
- May 8, 2018: Seminole County BCC approved an ordinance formally creating the Rolling Hills environmental remediation MSBU, as the vote by neighboring residents passed with a 75.5% approval of all petitions;
- May 23, 2018: FDEP gave conditional approval of the County’s remediation plan for the detected dieldrin chemicals; and
- August 23, 2018: The FCT Board approved the land exchange, as Seminole County met the previously set forth conditions of the exchange.