SALEM - The front section of Ponderosa Park will be auctioned off on Aug. 28 at the Mahoning County courthouse.
Consisting of four parcels, the sheriff's sale to recover delinquent taxes dating to 1989-90 on the former campground and country and western music hot spot, is set for 1:30 p.m. in the Commissioners Conference Room, 120 Market St. in Youngstown.
Ponderosa Park is located at 9362 Salem-Warren Road in Goshen Township.
Last march, 141-acres of the park was scheduled for auction in three sections.
Only the back section, that was appraised at $144,000 and had a minimum bid of $96,000, was sold.
The mortgage holder purchased that section, a 68.37 acre tract, with a bid of $700,000 while the front section was withdrawn at the last minute by attorney Gary Rosati.
He attributed the withdrawal to inadequate technical and legal descriptions on the land map.
The third, middle section consisting of the multi-deeded campgrounds won't be ready for auction for two years, said Rosati, whose land company was hired by the county prosecutor's office to research and assemble the complicated auction data.
The front is considered the more historic and valuable section of the park and includes the outdoor stage and guitar-shaped swimming pool and has a total acreage of 45.45 acres.
It had an appraised value in March of $225,000 or just over $4,950 per acre.
An auction on that section was tentatively reset for May with a $150,000 minimum bid but no auction was held.
In March, Equity Portfolio LLC, a Warren company representing the mortgage holder, placed the top bid after a 10-minute battle with Terry Pidgeon of Salem who owns property adjacent to the park.
Representing Equity Portfolio, Youngstown attorney Leo Puhalla wouldn't say how high he would have bid, but Rosati said he was surprised at the amount.
On Tuesday, Rosati said that he asked the sheriff to re-appraise the property in light of the amount of money the "back" parcels generated at the March 27 auction.
Since it is a foreclosure sale all the liens "will be eliminated," Rosati said earlier, adding the county makes no representation regarding the oil and gas leases.
There is one well on the property owned by a Canfield company that was "issuing checks," Rosati said.
The park debt was in the of millions of dollars, topping over $10 million at one time.
The park was once a popular country and western music venue located five miles north of Salem on state Route 45.
It had an adjoining campground which set into motion a series of poor business decisions which eventually led to the park's demise.
Years ago, small deeded plats on the campgrounds were sold outright to campers and many complained about the lack of upkeep and contract provisions being ignored.
In 2010, there were 962 deed liens against it including three by the Internal Revenue Service, four mechanic liens and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources were investigating problems on the grounds.
In May of 2010, the Mahoning County Health District condemned the buildings and premises.
Assistant Mahoning County Prosecutor Elizabeth Phillips said Rosati's outside land office was hired to foreclose on the property "because of the extensive research" required.
Larry Shields can be reached at email@example.com