Florida Senate - 2011 SB 1846 By Senator Thrasher 8-01489A-11 20111846__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to the Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail; 3 providing a short title; providing legislative intent; 4 providing definitions; requiring the Division of 5 Recreation and Parks of the Department of 6 Environmental Protection to supervise the design and 7 construction of the Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail; 8 specifying the locations and the requirements for the 9 public golf facilities in state parks; requiring the 10 division to coordinate with Jack Nicklaus and the 11 company selected to identify state park locations; 12 authorizing the division to approve additional public 13 golf facilities; directing the division to initiate a 14 competitive bidding process for the selection of a 15 golf course development company to enter into a 16 contract for the development of public golf facilities 17 in state parks and for a long-term lease for the 18 operation of the facilities; specifying the minimum 19 qualifications for the selected golf course 20 development company; requiring that the public golf 21 facilities created pursuant to the act be designed by 22 Jack Nicklaus; authorizing the issuance of an 23 alcoholic beverage license to the golf course 24 development company; preempting the regulation of any 25 political subdivision, municipality, or agency 26 concerning the development and operation of the public 27 golf facilities authorized by the act; authorizing the 28 division to issue revenue bonds to finance the cost of 29 the golf courses; specifying requirements for and 30 limitations on the revenue bonds; providing an 31 effective date. 32 33 WHEREAS, Jack Nicklaus has resided in Florida since 1965, 34 and the Nicklaus family has a long history of involvement in 35 numerous local charitable activities, including the Nicklaus 36 Children’s Health Care Foundation, and 37 WHEREAS, Jack Nicklaus was the recipient of the Woodrow 38 Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship, an award given to 39 executives who demonstrate a commitment to the common good, and 40 was honored by President George W. Bush with the Presidential 41 Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given to any civilian, and 42 WHEREAS, Jack Nicklaus is one of the greatest golfers of 43 all times, having won six Masters Golf Tournaments, five PGA 44 Championships, four U.S. Opens, and three British Opens, having 45 been honored by Sports Illustrated with its “Best Individual 46 Male Athlete of the 20th Century” award, and having been named 47 “One of the 10 Greatest Athletes of the Century” by ESPN and 48 “The Most Powerful Person in Golf” by Golf, and 49 WHEREAS, Jack Nicklaus has been involved in the design of 50 nearly 300 golf courses, 63 of which have appeared on national 51 and international “Top-100” lists, and his business, Nicklaus 52 Design, has designed courses in 34 countries and 39 states, 90 53 of which have hosted a combined total of more than 600 54 professional tournaments and significant national amateur 55 championships, and 56 WHEREAS, Jack Nicklaus and Nicklaus Design have a long 57 history of environmental stewardship, with 40 Nicklaus-designed 58 golf courses certified by Audubon International, and Nicklaus 59 Design’s Old Greenwood Golf Course in Truckee, California, 60 winning the Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Award, and 61 WHEREAS, Jack Nicklaus was the recipient of the prestigious 62 John James Audubon Special Recognition Award for his 63 environmentally friendly golf course designs, and 64 WHEREAS, it is the intent of the Legislature to preserve, 65 protect, and enhance tourism as a vital part of the state 66 economy, and 67 WHEREAS, the Legislature finds that the creation of 68 environmentally sensitive public golf facilities within state 69 parks will create jobs, support local tourism-based businesses, 70 increase state and local revenues, and elevate the state’s 71 reputation as a premier golf destination capable of hosting 72 major golf championships, and 73 WHEREAS, the creation of public golf facilities designed by 74 Jack Nicklaus is in the public interest and will promote tourism 75 development, increasing the use of existing state parks by 76 residents of this state and tourists, NOW, THEREFORE, 77 78 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 79 80 Section 1. This act may be cited as the “Jack Nicklaus Golf 81 Trail of Florida Act.” 82 Section 2. Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail.— 83 (1) LEGISLATIVE INTENT.—It is the intent of the Legislature 84 to stimulate the growth of tourism and the state economy by 85 enhancing the state’s reputation as a premier golfing 86 destination and encouraging the location of public golf 87 facilities within Florida’s existing state parks through an 88 efficient, effective, and responsive regulatory process free 89 from unnecessarily burdensome requirements. The Legislature 90 finds that the creation of the Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail will 91 serve as a tourism-development project that will increase the 92 use of the existing state parks by residents of this state and 93 tourists. 94 (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term: 95 (a) “Department” means the Department of Environmental 96 Protection. 97 (b) “Division” means the Division of Recreation and Parks 98 of the department. 99 (3) THE JACK NICKLAUS GOLF TRAIL.— 100 (a) The division shall supervise the design and 101 construction of the Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail of Florida. The 102 Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail of Florida is created to consist of at 103 least five public golf facilities, each located within one of 104 the five state park regions specified in s. 258.001, Florida 105 Statutes. 106 (b) Each public golf facility shall be located, to the 107 extent possible, in a state park of at least 3,000 acres in size 108 which is near interstate highways and major metropolitan areas. 109 The division shall coordinate with Jack Nicklaus and the company 110 selected pursuant to subsection (4) to identify state park 111 locations that meet these criteria. 112 (c) Each public golf facility must include, at a minimum, 113 an 18-hole public golf course, a practice area, a clubhouse 114 having limited food service and parking, and a golf course 115 maintenance building. The public golf facility must be built in 116 an environmentally sensitive manner and be open to the general 117 public. The facility may include a hotel. 118 (d) The division may approve additional public golf 119 facilities consistent with the requirements of this section upon 120 completion of the initial five public golf facilities authorized 121 in paragraphs (a) and (b). The additional facilities shall be 122 developed and operated in accordance with this section. 123 (4) OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE; SELECTION OF OPERATOR.— 124 (a) The division shall, subject to a competitive 125 procurement process, select a golf course development company to 126 enter into a contract for the development of the public golf 127 facilities and a long-term lease for the operation of the 128 facilities. In selecting the company, the division must consider 129 whether the company meets all of the following minimum 130 qualifications: 131 1. It is an entity authorized to conduct business in this 132 state. 133 2. It demonstrates that operation of the Jack Nicklaus Golf 134 Trail will generate revenues sufficient to pay the revenue bonds 135 authorized by this section. 136 3. It demonstrates through an independent analysis or study 137 that the Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail will promote tourism and 138 increase the use of state parks by residents and tourists. 139 4. It demonstrates at least 20 years of experience in the 140 successful development and operation of public and private golf 141 facilities that have received accolades and awards from 142 reputable national organizations. 143 5. It demonstrates experience in successful development of 144 golf facilities within the state parks of at least one other 145 state which have received accolades and awards from reputable 146 national organizations. 147 6. It includes, as part of its application, a certification 148 that Jack Nicklaus has agreed to work with the company on the 149 design and construction of the public golf facilities. 150 (b) The public golf facilities created pursuant to this 151 section must be designed by Jack Nicklaus. Upon selection of the 152 company, the division shall enter into a contract for the 153 development of the facilities and a long-term lease for their 154 operation by the company. 155 (c) The company selected pursuant to this section must 156 adhere to standards approved by Jack Nicklaus to maintain the 157 quality of the public golf facilities. 158 (5) ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE LICENSE.—Notwithstanding any 159 provision of law to the contrary, the company selected pursuant 160 to subsection (4) is eligible for issuance of an alcoholic 161 beverage license pursuant to s. 561.20(7), Florida Statutes. 162 (6) SUPERSEDED LAWS AND REGULATIONS.—The state, by the 163 enactment of this section, expressly preempts the regulation of 164 any political subdivision, municipality, or agency concerning 165 the development and operation of the public golf facilities 166 authorized by this section. 167 (7) REVENUE BONDS.— 168 (a) The state may issue bonds pursuant to the State Bond 169 Act, ss. 215.57-215.83, Florida Statutes, for the purpose of 170 paying all or any part of the cost of any one or more approved 171 public golf facilities within the Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail. The 172 principal of, and the interest on, such bonds must be payable 173 solely from revenues pledged for their payment from operation of 174 the public golf facilities. 175 (b) The proceeds of the bonds of each issue may be used 176 only for the payment of the cost of the public golf facilities 177 for which such bonds shall have been issued, except as provided 178 in the State Bond Act. The proceeds shall be disbursed and used 179 as provided by this section and in such manner and under such 180 restrictions, if any, as the Division of Bond Finance may 181 provide in the resolution authorizing the issuance of the bonds. 182 All revenues and bond proceeds from the Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail 183 received by the department pursuant to this section may be used 184 only for the cost of golf course construction projects and 185 improvements and for the administration, operation, maintenance, 186 and financing of the Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail. Revenues or bond 187 proceeds from the Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail may be spent only for 188 the operation, maintenance, construction, or financing of a 189 project that is part of the Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail. 190 (c) The Division of Bond Finance may issue revenue bonds on 191 behalf of the department to finance or refinance the cost of 192 golf course projects within the Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail of 193 Florida pursuant to s. 11, Article VII of the State 194 Constitution. 195 Section 3. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.