Cleveland Releases RFP to Revitalize Historic Highland Park Golf Course
Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022 – Cleveland – Today, the City of Cleveland released a request for proposals (RFP) for a vendor to lease, revitalize, and manage operations of the historic Highland Park Golf Course at 3550 Green Road.
Highland Park Golf Course, first opened in 1928, is a 36-hole course and clubhouse owned by the City and operated by an external management company. The City of Cleveland is seeking to establish Highland as 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. 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,” Mayor Justin M. Bibb said.
As the only public course near Cleveland’s east side, Highland has historically been a welcoming course for minority players in an overwhelmingly white sport. 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,” Mayor Bibb added. “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.”
The City is seeking innovative ideas to re-imagine the golf course for the next 100 years. The City aims for the course to continue its history of promoting diversity in golf by opening doors to the sport for new, young golfers from Cleveland and by honoring its past as a predominantly minority course.
Responses are due October 20, 2022. 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.
The RFP can be accessed here.