[Brief] Parkland 17 Memorial Foundation proposes memorial at former Heron Bay Golf Course

Brynn Schwartz, Associate Editor-in-Chief

The Parkland 17 Memorial Foundation is hoping to build a memorial in memory of the 17 people that were killed on Feb. 14, 2018 in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. This tribute would be located on the former Heron Bay Golf Course.

The golf course, which closed in 2019, was purchased in April 2021 for $32 million by the North Springs Improvement District. The Heron Bay Golf Course spans 223 acres in Coral Springs and Parkland. The property was first purchased by ClubLink in 2010 for $4.75 million.

In a meeting on Aug. 29, developers presented their ideas for the location.150 acres is already set aside for stormwater retention, but the remaining is left over for commercial use.

Committee members–comprised of Coral Springs and Parkland residents–the Heron Bay Homeowners Association and the North Springs Improvement District listened to developers’ suggestions. Suggestions included outdoor shopping plazas, restaurants, fountains, an Emporium, a charter school, a fitness center and a botanical garden.

However, on Nov. 30, the Parkland 17 Memorial Foundation sent a letter to the North Springs Improvement District requesting a memorial at the former golf course. If the request is accepted and the memorial is built, it would dip into the 150 acres set aside for stormwater retention, according to North Springs Improvement District manager Rod Colon.

“Our foundation is planning an unforgettable and majestic memorial that will be fitting to honor those who were taken too soon,” the letter said.

The planning requires many steps, including the production of the actual memorial, deciding where on the golf course it should be located and how it would tie into the pre-existing plans for the golf course and whether the land for the memorial would be donated or leased.

“The proposed location would be built on the border with Coral Springs and Parkland and it would unite the two communities,” Colon said.

The Feb. 14th tragedy harmed both the Parkland and Coral Springs community. As MSD has students and staff of both communities who were directly harmed by the shooting, many students have opinions on the proposal.

“I think that [the memorial is] a good idea because it brings the community in to help them be more aware,” freshman Savita Bagirathan said. “If you do one at the school and one at the Heron Bay golf course, it ties it in for the students and parents.”

For some, memorials allow for a space to heal and reflect on the trauma the Parkland and Coral Springs community has endured.

“Putting a memorial on the golf course will be good for the community,” senior Amelia Sampson said. “Having a memorial will allow a peaceful place to think and relax and reflect for all, not just those immediately affected. We all were affected.”

Sampson envisions a garden, artwork and statues for the memorial. Her ideas are similar to other students. Freshman Keira McQueen hopes to see flowers at the memorial, if it happens.

However, many feel adding the memorial is “too much” or not helping residents of Parkland and Coral Springs.

“I’d rather we actually change how easy it is to attain guns,” sophomore Manahil Kashif said. “We are a tattered community. Memorials are lovely, but I also want to see change.”

The committee considered the request at their Jan. 2 meeting. It was determined that developers’ plans will be revised to potentially include the memorial.