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Critics: Taxpayers Funded Bronx Golf Course As 'Gift' For Donald Trump

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- City taxpayers built the Ferry Point Park golf course in the Bronx, but Donald Trump gets to put his name on it.

As CBS 2's Tony Aiello reported, the city on Wednesday celebrated construction of the final hole at the golf course, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others defended the deal that brought it to the park adjacent to the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx.

But critics are furious about the whole situation.

Jack Nicklaus was present for the celebration Wednesday.

"Take a look at that skyline behind you -- is that something special?" he said.

The views are magnificent, but so is the price tag. The golf course cost $120 million in tax dollars and counting. Many in nearby public housing developments said the funds should have been reprioritized.

"There's other things we could spend on -- all those dollars, children, handicapped, old folks' homes," said Tito Giboyeaux.

Chopper 2 HD flew over the property 15 years ago, when Mayor Rudolph Giuliani struck a deal for a $25 million course paid for by private developers. But the developers went bust, and Mayor Bloomberg had the city Parks Department take over.

All around are a series of green pipes with revolving vents mounted on top, which help explain why it was so costly and so time consuming to build this place. The golf course sits on an old landfill, and the pipes vent methane gas.

Two years ago, the whole project was stalled. But then, the city turned to Trump.

"We knocked heads, and we really did a job, and we got everybody together," Trump said.

In return, the golf course has been named the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point. Trump also got a 20-year concession deal at the golf course that has critics fuming.

"Trump doesn't even pay anything to the city until the fourth year. It's just a gift," said Geoffrey Croft, president of New York City Park Advocates. "City taxpayers are building the most expensive course in the United States for a so-called billionaire."

But Trump insisted that the golf course could bring significant revenues to the city.

"If we get the Ryder Cup, the U.S. Open, things like that, it will bring hundreds of millions of dollars into the city," he said.

Trump did not mention that the earliest the course could host the U.S. Open is 2021, and for the Ryder Cup, 2028.

When the course opens in 18 months, daily fees are expected to flirt with $150 – three times more expensive than other city courses.

The links-style course has no trees. It will host some youth events next year while the grass grows in, and then open to the public in 2015.

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