Proposal would name Schenley golf course for O'Connor
An organization involved in running the Schenley Park Golf Course wants the city to rename the facility after the late Mayor Bob O'Connor.
"My hope is that it eventually comes to be called the Bob O'Connor Golf Course at Schenley Park, and that people end up calling it The Bob," said Bruce Stephen, executive director of The First Tee of Pittsburgh, a nonprofit organization that teaches kids golf and moral values at the course.
"The O'Connor family very much wants that."
He said he has also floated the idea to City Council President Doug Shields, a close friend of Mr. O'Connor whose colleagues would have to approve such a name change. Mr. Shields, he said, was receptive.
"Bob played here, loved the place, and was on the board of First Tee of Pittsburgh," Mr. Stephen said.
The course is owned by the city but maintained by Carnegie Mellon University under an agreement that runs out at year's end. First Tee has been involved in maintenance and operation of the course for years and hopes to take on those roles entirely after CMU bows out, Mr. Stephen said.
The organization's annual fund-raising event starts at 5 p.m. on Saturday at the golf course. The cost is $75 per person.
- The First Tee of Pittsburgh, at Bob O'Connor Golf Course in Schenley Park, hired Marc Field as executive director in April 2008.
Lease of the Bob O'Connor Golf Course at Schenley Park to First Tee
- BY CHARLIE DEITCH, AUGUST 16, 2007, Pgh City Paper
Pittsburgh City Council voted Aug. 7, 2007, to lease the Bob O'Connor Golf Course at Schenley Park to First Tee, a nonprofit organization that teaches children, many from low-income neighborhoods, how to golf.
But the only hole some councilors were worried about was the one the measure opened in the city's budget.
The problem many councilors had with the lease is that it doesn't really seem like a lease, in that the city isn't making any money from it. Instead, the city is paying $320,000 in capital funds -- money usually earmarked for long-term investments in infrastructure --to help fund operating costs over the next two years. First Tee will contribute matching dollars.
Councilor Jim Motznik began the debate by questioning why a golf course is getting capital dollars, rather than money from the Regional Assets District 1 percent sales tax. Schenley Park already receives RAD funding, Motznik noted, while other city assets have no funding sources at all.
"I need $50,000 to open two pools, one in Overbrook and one in Beechview," Motznik said. "I just can't see giving capital dollars to a RAD golf course."
Motznik was supported by other councilors, including Len Bodack and Twanda Carlisle. Carlisle said that although many young people in her district have used the First Tee program, "I can't support the way this is being funded."
However, Councilor Bill Peduto pointed out that the money wasn't likely to be allocated to start reopening swimming pools or pave additional streets across the city. "We're voting whether this golf course stays open or closes," Peduto said. The measure passed 5-3, with Council President Doug Shields abstaining; Shields sits on First Tee's board of directors.