Crains Looks at City of Akron’s Options for Good Park and Mud Run


Good Park Golf Course Akron Ohio

good park golf course akron ohio

Good Park Golf CourseThe future of Good Park Golf Course and Mud Run Golf Course is up for discussion.

Judy Stringer of Crain’s Cleveland Business reviewed the City of Akron budget task force findings in a story entitled Task Force Recommends Saying Farewell to Akron’s Fairways.

The ‘blue-ribbon’ committee said that the golf properties lost nearly $1.5 million between 2010 and 2014, a $290,000 annual deficit over the five year period.

The 58-page report includes more than 75 suggestions for improving the city’s finances and operations, including a recommendation to sell off its two money-losing golf courses, Good Park and Mud Run.

One specific suggestion from the task force is to offer the golf course properties to the Summit Metro Parks.

But according to the article, Summit Metro Park spokesman Nathan Eppink said the city has not made a proposal to the county, “nor have we had any formal discussions.”

The Crains article also suggests that Good Park could follow other city- and count-owned golf courses in the region and be turned into parks, citing comments from Joe Leslie of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy. Leslie trots out the idea that golf courses ‘use pesticides that ruin clean water’, making the conversion of golf courses into parks beneficial. Sigh. Frustrating.

See the complete story — with some quotes attributed to ‘Allen Freeman of Northeast Ohio Golf’ — here.

One quote attributed to me is not 100% clear. The article quotes me as saying:

“With fewer younger people playing the game and putting more pressure on the already saturated market, he said, it may be easier for a county, presumably with deeper pockets than a municipality, to absorb ongoing deficits.”

That quote is just a portion of what I said on the topic of ‘governments in golf’.

Yes, counties may indeed be better suited than to cities to absorb short-term financial losses; they usually have bigger bankrolls.

But that doesn’t mean I think any government agency — city, county or state — SHOULD run a golf course at a never-ending loss.

And more specifically, I didn’t say (and don’t agree) that a county is better suited than a city to lose money operating a golf course…

5 Comments

  1. February 24, 2016

    Joe Leslie’s comment about the use of fertilizer and pesticides is so off base, but so typical. Golf courses use just enough chemicals to get the job done, and only on the acreage necessary but home owners who have far more acreage in the city are not experts and waste chemicals and water.

    It was determined, after bad mouthing the farmers of western ohio, that the algae bloom of a couple years ago, was from home owners not farmers, not golf courses.

    Cleveland purchased Acacia CC a couple years ago to turn into parkland, I wonder how much that is costing per year, considering that they are snow blowing the walking trails, how many salaries are they paying to keep that as a park, with no revenue to offset. Green space is a valuable commodity, so if Good Park, Mud Run, is losing a little money, it is not a huge loss, when set against what the First Tee accomplishes, and the recreational, educational, historical and community value the golf courses have for Akron

    But as I said before, lease them, collect nothing but profit, and let someone operate them as a business.

  2. February 24, 2016

    I have heard that much of the money that Good Park takes in goes towards running Mud Run. I was under the assumption that Mud Run was built for The First Tee program which means that much of their operating costs should be supported through that program. I would be willing to bet that there is a tremendous misappropriation of funds going on with these 2 courses. As you stated Allen, Good Park is run lean so there is no way that they have been operating in the red the past 5-6 years. Sounds like another Aurora CC deal coming.

    • Allen Freeman
      February 24, 2016

      I would hope the City of Akron doesn’t see ‘parkland’ as a true option, i.e. Aurora CC.

      If the City decides it must act, I hope they realize that the best tact would be to bid each property out separately for long-term lease to private management.

      Let the Summit County Metroparks bid, too, if they really want to run golf courses. Make the bid process 100% public and transparent vs. a Mayor and Parks Director sitting in some back-office deciding.

      Good Park is a solid public golf course. Some entrepreneurial focus could make it even better. The City of Akron could still own the land while putting long-term operations in private hands. Everybody wins…

  3. February 23, 2016

    First I believe the cost structure is poor, union wages do not work at a golf course, also, Mud Run, while a nice first tee facility does not appeal to many golfers, let alone not many people know it is open to the public.

    Akron should lease the property to a management firm, taking the losses out of the equation, because turning it into a park does not eliminate the maintenance on the property so the cost is still there with no revenue.

    • Allen Freeman
      February 23, 2016

      How ‘blue ribbon’ is a panel that comes up with one suggestion/alternative as a solution? The single idea of selling the property to Summit County Metroparks is oddly narrow. There are several other options that would better serve the City and its residents, as you suggest.

      It’s also troubling that the City of Akron did not provide the golf course financial reports to Crains as requested. Good Park is run lean, so what types of expenses are generating a $290K/year loss? Is the accounting done separately for Good Park vs Mud Run? Are there any expenses added to the negative side of the ledger that a privately-run operation would never have?

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