Saving the Green Space: Preserve Bluewater Bay Now a 501c3!

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By Barbara Palmgren

The community of Bluewater Bay is one step closer to saving their green space, and I couldn’t be more excited for them!

Bluewater Bay GolfPreserve Bluewater Bay (PBWB) is a not-for-profit organization created by community members who want to save 150 acres of green space in Bluewater Bay that defines this special spot of paradise. They’ve set a goal of raising $2.4 million by March 4, 2024, in order to purchase the land and save it from developers. So far, they’ve raised $1.9 million in pledges, and just this month have been granted 501(c)(3) status, meaning that donations can be tax deductible.

I’ve been asked why I’m passionate about saving green space from future development, even though I don’t live in the community. Ironically, that was a question I was asked more than 11 years ago as a resident of Shalimar Pointe when the course was about to be purchased and turned into 160 homes.

Fortunately, at that time, my husband was an officer for Shalimar Pointe Homeowners Association. When he heard that this was a “done deal” at an executive board meeting, he immediately reached out to key people in the community to begin a journey like the one Bluewater Bay is embarking upon right now. A journey to remove the threat of additional homes, infrastructure, traffic problems and the loss of property values and green space. They say it takes a whole village to raise a child. It took 115 investors to save our green space and protect the entire community.

Working together, a community can do anything. Working together, a community can do everything.

Witnessing the loss of the former Magnolia Golf Course, now abandoned and soon to be developed, the lesson was painfully in front of Bluewater Bay homeowners. Witnessing the closure of the Lakes Course to development was another wake-up call. Last month, while attending a meeting of PBWB, I personally witnessed the loss of other golf holes and the driving range across from the clubhouse. When I entered the meeting, I felt the resolve and dedication to see that the carnage cease.

To stop the future development on green space occupied by the remaining golf course, officers and members of PBWB have worked tirelessly over the past months to raise funds.

Their efforts have just received another “Hail Mary” before the deadline early next year to purchase the 150 acres. It comes with the granting of 501(c)(3) status by the federal government. Organizations that qualify under this Internal Revenue Code are eligible for federal exemption from payment of corporate income tax. Once exempt, the nonprofit will be exempt from similar state and local taxes. As a 501(c)(3) Charitable Organization, donors can now give, knowing that their pledge will be tax deductible and Preserve Bluewater Bay Inc. revenues will go directly to preserving the land.

Only $500,000 is now needed to reach the $2.4 million to purchase the green space, sustained by the golf course and other recreational use. All investors and future investors can now receive the long “Hail Mary” pass of the 501(c)(3) that will ensure that 150 acres of land is not developed.

Contact David Rauch at 850-865-0897 or visit preservebwb.com to learn more and make a pledge. Property owners living on the course can also purchase up to 20 feet of property behind their home extending into the golf course for $8 a sq. ft. with certain conditions. Call Debbie Stretch from Blue Marlin Pelican Realty at 850-218-8312 for information to purchase these “slivers” as part of the “Hi Ho Sliver” campaign. Future informational meetings this year will be held at the golf clubhouse at 6 p.m. (in December on Wed., Dec. 6 and Thurs., Dec 19).

So, when I’m asked about why I’m passionate about helping Bluewater Bay save its green space from development, I can answer that I know it can be done. We did it in Shalimar. You can do it in Bluewater Bay. Why? Because stopping further housing development and saving green space will preserve the legacy that is Bluewater Bay for future generations.
Working together, a community can do anything. Working together, a community can do everything.

Upcoming Community PBWB Meetings

6 p.m. | BWB Golf Clubhouse
Thursday, December 19
Wednesday, January 10
Tuesday, January 23
Tuesday, February 6
Tuesday, February 20