June 23, 2010 Edition

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Matt Hibbs (from left), Adam Davis, Greg Gill and Chris Henson work to remove trees from the golf course area on Monday.

Club members work
to save clubhouse

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

On Monday afternoon several members of the Walnut Ridge County Club began the process of removing trees from the golf course area. The trees and other obstacles have caused the Walnut Ridge Airport to be out of compliance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations concerning safety zones on runway 18-36, which abuts the course.

Following the Arkansas Court of Appeals' decision to uphold a ruling made by Circuit Judge Harold Erwin last year, the country club and the golf club were required to vacate the premises and return the property to its prelease condition. Members were required to leave the property by midnight Sunday night.

Country Club Board member Greg Gill said the club members are removing the trees and doing what they need to do to bring the airport back into compliance with FAA regulations.

"We have removed 25 trees this morning and still have approximately 25 more to go," Gill said. Work continued on the tree removal Tuesday.

At the recent airport commissioner's meeting, club members were told that as soon as the runway safety zones are brought into compliance, the commission will be able to work on a new lease for the clubhouse and its grounds. They also told club members that once that is accomplished, the club members, the commissioners and the city can begin to work on a new plan for the golf course.

"Any new leases will have to approved by the FAA," Gill said. "We're cutting and removing these trees in an effort to save our clubhouse."

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