June 2, 2010 Edition

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WR club votes not
to pursue review

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

Following the Arkansas Court of Appeals' decision on May 5 to uphold Circuit Judge Harold Erwin's granting of the Walnut Ridge Airport and the city's motion for summary judgment, the Walnut Ridge Golf Club has voted not to pursue a petition for review.

"That was the last course of action that could be taken in this litigation," said Allen Smith, president of the golf club board. "Walnut Ridge Golf Club, Inc. has had the remaining 49 years of a 99-year lease voided. When all the legal paperwork is completed, the city will have possession of the golf course, and according to the structure of the note, all of the remaining assets will be in possession of the lien holder due to a provision in the agreement pertaining to the loss of the existing lease.

"There are ongoing discussions about how to keep the golf course and the clubhouse open, but I can't comment on any of that at this time."

Walnut Ridge Airport Commission Board Chair Hal Lady said they have not received any official word from the golf club as to what action they plan to take.

"We have heard they voted not to pursue further legal action," Lady said. "We are waiting on the 30 days they are allowed to make their decision, and then expect them to contact us."

The commission's next meeting will be held June 14.

"We are not going to take any action before our meeting," said Lady. "We hope they will have contacted us by then."

Lady said the commission will look at the options they have at that time, but the obstacles in the airport's safety zones will have to be removed. Mayor Michelle Rogers said the city council is also waiting for the 30 days to lapse before taking any action.

"The clubhouse is not a problem and has never been an issue," she said. "The airport has to be brought into compliance, and then we'll see what options we have. We are willing to work out a solution with the club members."

"We need a golf course and a county club," she said. "This has been a bad situation with friendships damaged forever and hurt feelings on both sides. Hopefully we can work together on the options we have."

Smith said the county club and golf course are currently open for business, and they are hopeful for the future.

"I would like to ask that this valuable community asset be kept open and usable for this community and the surrounding communities," Smith said.

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