The city of Cleveland is seeking to revitalize the historic Highland Park Golf Course, which borders the cities of Beachwood and Shaker Heights.
The city announced Sept. 15 that it is accepting requests for proposals for a vendor to lease, revitalize and manage operations of the course 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 external management company.
The city wants to establish the Highland Park as a tournament-ready course and a leader in community impact and sustainability, according to a news release.
“This course has a rich history of promoting diversity in the sport of golf,” Cleveland Mayor Justin M. Bibb said in the release. “As the golf course nears its centennial, this is an opportunity to elevate it as a premier public course for locals and a destination for golfers across the country.”
As the only public course near Cleveland’s east side, Highland Park has historically been a welcoming course for minority players in an overwhelmingly white sport., the release stated. The Sixth City Golf Club established in 1946 and Forest City Golf Club were two pioneering African-American golf leagues that played primarily at Highland Park.
The course also hosted the inaugural PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship in 1987, at which African-American golf stars including 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 first black golfer to play and win on the PGA tour, claimed Highland Park as his home course for a time.
During the PGA Tour’s Cleveland Open in 1964 and 1965, the course welcomed golf greats like Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tony Lema.
“As a young man, this 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 golfers, both aspiring and seasoned, to enjoy.”
Requests for proposals are due Oct. 20. Submissions will be evaluated based on their proposals for establishment of a best-in-class facility, exploration and expansion of community impact and thoughtful consideration of environmental sustainability, according to the release.
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