City of Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan has announced that The First Tee of Greater Akron will assume all day-to-day operations of the Mud Run Golf Course and Driving Range, in an agreement announced last Friday.
The purpose of the new partnership is to reduce the cost to the City of Akron in operating the facility, while increasing services and enhancing the visibility and popularity of the course.
In its 2016 report, the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force identified the City’s golf courses as an opportunity to reduce costs and improve customer service to the public. The result was a collaborative plan for the City and The First Tee to enter into a three-year, renewable, management agreement.
“Today’s announcement is about smart, long-term planning, cost-saving, and effective community-building,” Mayor Horrigan said of the partnership. “As a City, we must recognize our strengths, and accept that we cannot – and should not – attempt to be experts at everything. The First Tee of Greater Akron has demonstrated their skill in managing operations and programs of this kind through years of successful work in the community, and I welcome this opportunity to partner with them further to instill healthy habits and strong values in our youth.”
“This partnership will accomplish two very important goals over time,” Mayor Horrigan said. “First, it will increase revenue and greatly decrease the City’s subsidy for the course – saving taxpayer dollars and reducing the burden on our City budget without compromising this valuable community asset.”
“Second, The First Tee will deploy their considerable expertise to enhance holistic youth programming and services at the course beyond what the City is currently able to provide. By expanding marketing and leveraging existing corporate relationships, The First Tee can increase attendance and generate renewed interest.”
“Our vision is for Mud Run to become a true community hub,” Robert Knapp, Board President of The First Tee of Greater Akron said. “We anticipate hosting events for charitable, educational, and youth-oriented programs year-round. We also have significant plans to enhance the course’s offerings, including building a new three-hole course designed through the eyes of a child, called ‘First Tee Mini Three’ to extend our programming to kids age 4-6 and to youth with disabilities of all ages. We are thrilled for this opportunity to expand our programming at Mud Run and build on our effective partnership with the City of Akron.”
It is projected that the City of Akron will save close to $200,000 a year in operating expenses through this agreement with The First Tee of Akron.
Dirk Hartman, a PGA Professional from Pittsburgh, has been hired to run the golf course operations. Longtime NOPGA Member Jimmy Beers is managing The First Tee program and teaching.
The golf course and driving range will both remain open to the public. Mud Run is located at 2000 South Hawkins Avenue in Akron.
— Press release portion written by Ellen Lander Nischt, City of Akron Press Secretary and Assistant Director of Law.