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Published: Wednesday, 4/20/2005

Wood County foreclosing on Rossford arena land

BOWLING GREEN - The Wood County treasurer is going after the Rossford Arena Amphitheater Authority for failing to pay nearly $940,000 in taxes on land where its failed entertainment complex was to have been built and another parcel slated for commercial development.

The foreclosures, filed this month in Wood County Common Pleas Court, are the latest such actions filed against the RAAA.

Both the Ohio Carpenters Pension Fund and Carpenters Success, which lent money to the RAAA for the project, held first mortgages on the properties and foreclosed on the RAAA in 2002. The pension fund lent the agency $2.4 million in March, 1999. Carpenters Success lent the RAAA $1.7 million in March, 2000, in hopes of jump-starting the project and garnering the union jobs involved in building it.

The RAAA did not contest the foreclosures. The court ultimately ordered the land to be sold at a sheriff's sale, but so far no buyer has been found.

In the latest filings, Treasurer Jill Engle said the RAAA owes the county $584,346 in delinquent taxes on the 60-acre parcel where it planned to build an ice hockey arena and amphitheater. Ms. Engle said the agency also owes $355,234 in back taxes on a 55-acre parcel next to the site that had been intended for commercial development.

Ms. Engle said yesterday the RAAA's debt represents one of the largest tax delinquencies in the county.

The complaints, which seek to have the properties sold at a sheriff's sale, list numerous lienholders.

The arena authority's plans to build a $48 million entertainment complex fell apart in late 1999 after the group was unable to obtain permanent financing for the project. Private, commercial development in the area known as the Crossroads of America has been moving forward despite the failed RAAA project.

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