The City of Cleveland is seeking to revitalize the historic Highland Park Golf Course, which borders the towns of Beachwood and Shaker Heights.
The city announced Sept. 15 that it was accepting a vendor’s request for proposals to lease, revitalize and manage course operations at 3550 S. Green Road.
Highland Park Golf Course, which opened in 1928, is a 36-hole course and clubhouse owned by the city and operated by an outside management company.
According to a press release, the city wants to make Highland Park a tournament-ready course and a leader in community impact and sustainability.
“This course has a rich history of promoting diversity in the sport of golf,” Cleveland Mayor Justin M. Bibb said in the statement. “As the golf course approaches its centenary, this is an opportunity to elevate it to a premier public course for locals and a destination for golfers across the country.”
As the only public course near the east side of Cleveland, Highland Park has always been a welcoming course for minority players in a predominantly white sport, the statement said. Sixth City Golf Club established in 1946 and Forest City Golf Club were two pioneering African-American golf leagues that played primarily in Highland Park.
The course also hosted the first PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship in 1987, where African American golf stars such as Lee Elder, Charlie Sifford, Calvin Peete, Jim Dent and Renee Powell held free golf clinics for the community. Sifford, known as the “Jackie Robinson of golf” and the first black golfer to play and win on the PGA Tour, claimed Highland Park as his home course for a time.
During the Cleveland Open of the PGA Tour in 1964 and 1965, the course hosted golf greats like Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tony Lema.
“As a young man, it was the first place I played golf,” Bibb said. “It would bring me immense pride to restore the course and create a professional tournament level course while maintaining it as a space for black, aspiring and seasoned golfers.”
Requests for Proposals are due October 20. Submissions will be evaluated based on their proposals for creating a world-class facility, exploring and expanding community impact, and thoughtful consideration of environmental sustainability, according to the release.
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