The course in the city’s Highland Hills section had been operated by MAN Golf Management until this past April, but after that contract was suddenly terminated, the city has been scrambling to find a new company to handle maintenance and help to open the course. The hope is now that Highland Hills will be ready for play by the end of June, but the city expects to lose $300,000 for the season. Long-range, Cleveland hopes the course can break even and serve as another recreational asset.
The city of Cleveland, Ohio has been scrambling to get the doors open at Highland Park Golf Course in its Highland Hills section, News 5, Cleveland’s ABC affiliate, reported, ever since the city’s contract with Indianapolis, Ind.-based MAN Golf Management, which operated the course from 2013 until April of 2018, was suddenly terminated this spring.
The city now has a new agreement in place with a new company to handle maintenance and open the course, News 5 reported, and the hope is that Highland Hills will be ready for play by the end of June.
But even once the fairways are trimmed and the greens are groomed, Darnell Brown, Cleveland’s Chief Operating Officer, told News 5 that the city will likely lose about $300,000 on the 2018 golf season
“We are essentially subsidizing it out of the general fund this year,” Brown said.
He expects the course to make about $400,000 once it opens in 2018, News 5 reported, but it will cost at least $700,000 to get the property open to play golf there again at all.
“The sooner we can get it open, the sooner we can begin to have a revenue stream coming in,” said Brown.
Brown told News 5 that the city is willing to give the golf course time to get back on its feet because it might one day break even, and in the meantime, it gives the region another recreational option.
“My perspective is, it’s not a money maker,” said Brown, speaking about municipal golf courses. “It’s a good recreational asset.”
In Parma, Ohio, on Cleveland’s southern edge, News 5 reported, city leaders take a similar approach.
“Most of our facilities, if not all, as well as our programs, are all quality-of-life issues,” Parma’s Director of Parks and Recreation, Mickey Vittardi, told News 5.
Each year, Parma’s Ridgewood Golf Course needs a roughly $20,000 loan from the city’s General Fund to stay afloat, News 5 reported. That money gets paid back, but records show more money is loaned each year.
“In this day in age, you can’t just open the garage door, say, ‘We’re open, come see us,’ ” said Parma Mayor Tim DeGeeter. “You gotta get out there, be aggressive.”
Parma hopes leagues and outings at Ridgewood Golf Course, along with changes to improve playing conditions, will help draw new players to the course, News 5 reported. They’re counting on youth programs to grow the next generation of golfers, who will soon come back to play the course at full price.
The city of Cleveland used to operate the Seneca Golf Course before the region’s Metroparks system took over operation of that facility, News 5 noted. Working out a similar deal for Highland Park GC could be an option if Metroparks is interested, News 5 reported, but it’s not near any land that Metroparks already controls.
News 5’s full report can be viewed at https://www.news5cleveland.com/news/e-team/highland-park-gold-course-finances-open
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