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Stark County Park Board puts 34 acres in Dickinson up for bid

The Stark County Park Board unanimously agreed during its meeting Tuesday at the Stark County Courthouse to put 34 acres of frontage property the county owns up for sale near the site of the new hospital west of Fairway Street, in order to give all developers a chance to purchase the land.

The request was brought back to the park board after the board denied a request in December for an easement onto the parcel of land east of the fair association's 56-acre property on the west side of Dickinson.

"The 34 acres of land is too long and narrow by itself to do much of anything, so I'm glad (the park board) decided to sell the 34 acres," said Frank Klein, who is vice chair of both the fair association and the county park board, after the meeting. "We have argued for a year now about what the land is worth. Putting it out for bids will let us know what it is worth."

Because the fair board has a $3.8 million contract with developer Five Diamond Fund Managers LLC of Draper, Utah, to create a fairgrounds, Klein hopes Five Diamond is the highest bidder.

If they're not, Klein hopes whoever purchases the land will grant the fair association easements, after the park board denied the fair association's request Tuesday for three easements onto the property, which Klein said is basically landlocked, besides one road.

The easements are for three main accesses to the property, including a continuation of Fairway Street.

County Commissioner Russ Hoff said putting the 34 acres out for bid gives everyone a chance at the land, instead of only the fair association getting a chance at the development of the property for a fairgrounds.

Commissioner Jay Elkin said he would agree to grant the fair association an easement across from Fairway Street, which is one of the three easements requested, and but the motion failed to pass because it received votes from only three of the seven park board members.

Attorney Sandra Kuntz, who represented the fair association at the meeting, said the fair association requested the Stark County Park Board's approval for three easements to the 58 acres of land, so it could move forward with its plans for a county fairground.

"We currently have a business plan and an exchange agreement with Ron Radder on behalf of Five Diamond Fund Managers for sale of the 58 acres that the fair association has in play," Kuntz said. "As part of that exchange agreement, the fair association needs access to that premises to be able to move forward with this development and for the fair association to receive the proceeds of that contractual arrangement, which we are then looking at placing it in an appropriate escrow account to be able to treat it as a 1031 exchange as needed or to fall under a 501c3 status.

"Then, the plan is to look at those proceeds as part of the business plan we put together for preparing an appropriate fairgrounds."

Kuntz added that it is the fair association's goal to "have something to play in" by 2014.