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SF Golf Course May Lose Its Trees

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Hundreds of trees blanket the land that belongs to Elmwood Golf Course in Sioux Falls.


However the popular course, that neighbors the Sioux Falls Airport, may have to lose some of those trees to meet the standards of the Federal Aviation Administration.


“When you're taking off or landing on a runway you have to have so much clearance between the aircraft and what is down below," said Dan Letellier, Executive Director for the Sioux Falls Regional Airport.


According to Letellier, nearly 150 trees on the course don't meet the FAA’s height standards for a safe approach to the airport's runway.


“We have trees that have grown and they are a problem and are just too high,” explained Letellier.


Both the Airport Authority Board and Elmwood Golf Course have been working together to come up with a solution that will not only meet the safety standards required by the FAA, but suit the golf course as well


“We're looking at how we can do that and maintain the golf course with the golfers and the playability of the course and yet address it for long term, so every 2 or 3 years we don’t have to go back and re-survey trees to see if they've grown too high,” said Letellier.


“We’re both pretty big assets to the city. We need a safe airport and we need a great golf course and I think that's been the focus of the discussions as to how to get this stuff fixed,” said Tom Jansa, President of Dakota Golf Management.


Jansa said while the tree removal will change the layout, the goal is to have an even better course than before. 


“We want to get the golf course in compliance with everything and still leave us with a great facility," said Jansa.


 Another option the two facilities are looking into is to somehow light up the trees instead of having to remove them.


The deadline to meet the FAA's runway safety requirement is September 2014.

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