July 15, 2009 Edition

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Airport, golf club still
working to find solution

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

At its regular meeting on Monday night, the Walnut Ridge Airport Commission spoke with a country club member to discuss the Notice of Appeal and Designation of Record filed by the club's attorney on July 2.

According to their attorney, C.W. Knauts of Piggott, the filing gives the golf club 90 days to decide whether or not to appeal Judge Harold Erwin's decision in favor of the airport and city.

On June 5, Erwin ruled the golf club's lease was invalid and gave them 30 days to vacate the property and return it to the condition it was in before they entered into a lease agreement with the city and the airport.

"We have basically filed an intent to appeal within 90 days if an agreement cannot be reached," Knauts said.

Dan Coker, Walnut Ridge Airport Commission chairman, said, "We want to go ahead and work out a short-term lease with the club for the property where their club house sets, along with their pool, tennis courts and the two holes not interfering with the airport's compliance with FAA safety standards. We'd like to get this done until everything else can be worked out."

Coker said he feels this would show good faith on the airport's side. He added that since the court issued the summary judgment, the commission will have to draw up a new lease for the clubhouse property because the original lease was voided by the ruling.

"A short term lease will be viable," Coker said. "We want FAA approval of a lease that will give us time to find a way to relocate the club's golf course so our airport will be in compliance and a situation like this will never occur again."

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