YOUNGSTOWN - The front portion of Ponderosa Park is set to be auctioned at a sheriff's sale at 1:30 p.m today at the Mahoning County courthouse.
The courthouse is located at120 Market St. in Youngstown and the Commissioners Conference Room is in basement.
Attorney Gary Rosati, representing the county, had asked the sheriff to reappraise the property in light of the sale amount received on the 'back' portion during the first auction in March.
The county declined that request, he said.
Consisting of about 141-acres, Ponderosa Park gained national fame as a country and western music hot spot in the1970s through the early 1990s and is located five miles north of Salem on state Route 45 in Goshen Township.
It also contained a campground.
The property was broken down into three large sections for auction to recover delinquent taxes dating to 1989-90.
Two sections were set for auction in March but the front part consisting of 45.45 acres was withdrawn at the last minute because of inadequate technical and legal descriptions on the land map, according to Rosati.
Equity Portfolio LLC Ltd., a Warren company representing the mortgage holder, placed the top bid of $700,000 on the 68.37-acre rear tract in that auction.
The property was appraised at $144,000 and the minimum bid was $96,000.
The second, more historic and valuable front section of the park that will be auctioned today includes the outdoor stage, guitar-shaped swimming pool and has been appraised at $225,000 with a $150,000 minimum bid (two-thirds the appraisal).
A third middle section consisting of the multi-deeded campgrounds won't be ready for auction for two years, Rosati said.
Rosati was hired by the county to foreclose on the property and assembled the auction data for the county "because of the extensive research" involved, Assistant Mahoning County Prosecutor Elizabeth Phillips said earlier this year.
She said the county didn't have the staff.
Before the first auction Rosati said the county was making no representation regarding the oil and gas leases while noting there was one well on the property, owned by a Canfield company, that was "issuing checks."
He added since it was a foreclosure sale all the liens "will be eliminated."
The park carried a debt of a couple of million dollars in March and Rosati noted it was over $10 million at one time.
Youngstown Attorney Leo Puhalla, representing Equity Portfolio, wouldn't say how high he would have bid for the back section after the March auction, but Rosati was surprised by the amount and explained the company had an interest in all the outstanding mortgages.
"I think the people are interested in the mineral rights ... they had a mortgage balance of over $1 million ... they would have gone over $1 million with all the back taxes," Rosati said at the time, adding, "I think the mortgage company was probably prepared to go quite a bit higher due to the amount owed on the lien."
Larry Shields can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org