May 12, 2010 Edition

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Court rules on
golf club appeal

Gretchen Hunt

The Arkansas Court of Appeals issued an opinion last Wednesday, May 5, upholding Circuit Judge Harold Erwin's granting of summary judgment for the City of Walnut Ridge and the Walnut Ridge Airport Commission in their lawsuit with the Walnut Ridge Golf Club.

The Golf Club appealed Erwin's May 28 opinion, which granted the city's motion for summary judgment for ejectment and dismissed the club's petition for permanent injunction.

Chief Judge Larry D. Vaught wrote the opinion affirming Erwin's decision.

Allen Smith, club president, said the board of directors is gathering information on options available and will present information to the membership for discussion.

"A preliminary meeting has been held with minor discussion, but it was limited by not fully understanding the entire process," Smith said.

The golf course adjoins runway 18-36 at the airport. The Airport Commission asked for several holes of the course to be relocated to avoid violation of Federal Aviation Administration safety regulations, but the golf club claims any violations were caused by actions by the airport and not by the club. They had sought an injunction to prevent the city and airport from terminating their lease.

The club's only option to keep the appeals process alive for a possible appeal to the state supreme court is called a petition for review.

"Ongoing discussions will take place as quickly as possible to avoid any last-second decisions," Smith said. "We will inform all necessary parties of that decision when one has been reached. We have been, and are still, hopeful that an amicable decision can be reached to keep this asset alive for the future."

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