The roughly 55-acre property was a dairy farm until it was turned into a golf course in the 1960s.
PLAIN TWP. A property that has been in Roy Barr's family for more than a century is about to be sold from under him.
The state of Ohio, on behalf of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, was awarded a foreclosure judgment in court last year and now will proceed with plans to sell Barr's Meadowlake Golf & Swim Club, which includes an 18-hole golf course.
The roughly 55 acres, at 1211 39th St. NE, are scheduled to be offered by the Stark County Sheriff's Office in a foreclosure auction at 10 a.m. March 5 at the county courthouse.
Proceeds from the sale would be used to pay the EPA $436,473, plus interest. The figure represents civil penalties previously levied against Barr for failing to monitor and maintain an approved water supply for Meadowlake's customers.
Contacted in Florida on Thursday, Barr said he had no comment.
"You probably know more about it than I do," he said.
Meadowlake Golf & Swim Club, which includes a small piece of nearby vacant residential land, was appraised at $1.6 million for the sale. A minimum bid of $1.07 million is required.
Barr said attorney John Juergensen was supposed to keep him updated on the foreclosure case, but he hadn't heard anything. Juergensen could not be reached for comment for this story, and Barr said he believes his attorney has moved out of the Canton area.
Kate Hanson, a spokeswoman for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office, said the attorney general represents the EPA in the foreclosure action, initiated in May 2016.
The Barr property, legally owned by Meadowlake Corp., was originally a dairy farm operated by Barr's grandfather in the early 1900s. The site was transformed into a golf course, beginning with work on the first nine holes in 1963.
Lengthy legal battle
Barr's clash with the EPA stretches back nearly two decades.
According to records from Stark County Common Pleas Court, the 5th District Court of Appeals and previous articles in The Canton Repository, here's what has transpired:
• In 1999, the EPA determined Meadowlake's well water supply should be classified as a surface water source, which required more stringent monitoring and treatment. Barr did not comply with the orders; the EPA deemed the water at Meadowlake a "serious health risk" for consumers.
• Barr challenged the EPA orders in courts and contended his water supply was not public. A 2006 court ruling found Meadowlake had committed more than 1,000 intentional violations of Ohio's safe drinking-water laws and ordered a $300,000 fine against the club.
• The state filed a foreclosure complaint in 2016 and won judgment in February 2017. In case filings, Assistant Attorney General Michael E. Idzkowski noted 10 years after the fine was levied, Meadowlake had paid only $4,033 toward the $300,000 due. The amount has continued to increase due to accruing interest. Last month, the Attorney General's Office filed paperwork to initiate a March 5 foreclosure auction.
Through the years, Barr explored options to fix the water problem. He wanted to tie into Canton's water system, but balked when city officials insisted he annex the club into the city.
He and his wife, Carol Barr, led an effort to incorporate Plain Township into a city. However, the issue was overwhelmingly rejected by nearly 97 percent of those who voted in the May 4, 2010 election.
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