Elmwood Golf Course Tees Off on Construction
by Brian Kirk, Meteorologist/Reporter
September 09, 2013 4:39 PM
A golfer will usually feel bad for leaving a mark on a green, but today these greens were seeing shovels, and nobody was mad about it.
Today marked the beginning of a three phase project designed to fix issues with FAA compliance, and enhance the 53 year old golf course in order to provide a beautiful setting for generations of golfers to come.
Airport officials and golf directors joined together to solve the problem. Tom Jansa, the President of Dakota Golf Management says the two parties worked together for a common goal. “We're an important part of the community, they're an important part of the community, and in the end everyone just recognized that there was a...we just kept driving the bus toward a solution that was good for both parties.”
The airport needs to have 1,000 feet of safety space after the runway in case of an airplane overshooting the surface. Unfortunately that meant that something at the golf course had to go. Jansa knows that some people are probably annoyed, “I think everybody understands it’s going to be a positive thing in the end. It’s obviously going to create a bit of pain and agony as any construction project does.”
Some of the trees, that were such staples to the course, had to be taken down because their heights posed a threat to landing aircraft. Dan Letellier, the Executive Director of the Sioux Falls Airport says safety is the number one concern. "The approach of the runway is impacted by quite a few trees that have grown over the years to a point where they are really too high and to try to just trim them, they amount needed would probably just end up killing the tree."
The three year construction project will cost five million dollars, a great deal of that will be funded by the FAA and the Airport Commission.
Each year a different nine-hole course will be closed and dealt with, and the other 18 holes will remain open. This year the East Nine is the first to go under the knife, in the hope that birdies will be dropping again soon.