The Airport v. Country Club, An Update

WALNUT RIDGE (KAIT) For the past several months the Walnut Ridge Airport Commission and the Walnut Ridge Country Club have been locked in a heated debate over whether the country club must move several holes near the end of the runway.

Now the discussion has reached an impasse and a court date is looming on the horizon.

The airport wants to move all the holes away from runway 18/36.

He country club members are saying "Why? we have been here 40 years why is it suddenly a problem?"

Walnut Ridge mayor Michelle Rogers says she thinks this whole thing began following an FAA inspection.

"They found some of the golf greens and trees and things like that was in violation and were out of compliance . So that's where the whole thing got started and it's just kinda evolved from there."

in 2006 the county club was given a couple of options, relocate off the airport or change the course and move 7 holes on existing airport property. Neither was a satisfactory solution.

Terry Ryan, WR Country club, "We could not make it work on the property that bordered our course."

The responses and costs were made to the airport.

Ryan, "And things seemed to go down hill from that. They kept saying you have to make this work out."

After many meetings, and a court hearing and more meetings the issue has stalled.

The country club says the airport is unmoving, the city says not true.

Mayor Rogers told me that "We offered them additional land to locate greens, we've had commissioners personally offer them money to help them relocate these greens. I mean we have had people come in and donating their own personal equipment to move. "

Ryan, "Regardless of how hard we tried we just could not get 9 holes out there that were suitable to the members of the club."

Mayor Rogers says they have done all they can to help the club relocate and tried to come with an agreement they could all live with.

The country club says they too have done all they could do.

Ryan "We feel that we have done everything within our power to try and reach a compromise based on a plan of coexistence. They (Airport) doesn't want to work with a plan of coexistence."

In the end Mayor Michelle Rogers says it may just boil down to a third party stepping in and making a final decision.

"It's like a ball game, someone has to lose and not everyone can win. It's hard to say where it will go to from that point. "

No firm court date has been set, it may be in July.

Both sides say they are ready to fight it out if necessary.