Local man’s petition seeks moratorium on Atwood sale


By Carol McIntire



A Carrollton man is seeking a moratorium on the sale of Atwood Resort and the transfer of nearly 400 acres of land to the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District.

Al Kemerer is circulating petitions he plans to submit to the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) and the MWCD Conservancy Court asking for an immediate moratorium on the modification of a donation agreement that transferred Atwood Lodge and nearly 500 acres of land from the MWCD to Carroll County Commissioners in 2012.

Kemerer is asking the MWCD board of directors not to approve a modification to the agreement that transfers approximately 400 acres back to the MWCD and allows Carroll County Commissioners to sell about 75 acres of land, the lodge, chalet and par 3 golf course.

County commissioners signed an agreement to sell the property and buildings with Kiko Auctioneers of Canton and the sale is scheduled Aug. 10 at noon.

Commissioners approved the modified donation agreement in late June. However the MWCD board of directors has not approved the modifications. The board is scheduled to meet July 22.

“We are asking the MWCD board not to approve the modification to the donation agreement and do the accounting legislators asked for in 2011,” Kemerer said.

A letter was sent to John Hoopingarner, MWCD director and executive secretary in July 2011, Representatives Dave Hall, Mark Okey, Lou Gentile and Al Landis and Senators Troy Balderson, Joe Schiavoni, Jason Wilson and Larry Obhof asking the MWCD to conduct a study of the financial background of Atwood Resort and Conference Center and to evaluate, record and present documentation related to the use of state and federal funds for capital development expenditures for the period of 1991-2011.

Kemerer contends the request was not fulfilled.

Kemerer told The Free Press Standard he is asking for a forensic audit to be conducted on Atwood finances for that same period. “When the county accepted the donation, they also accepted the burden of paying back any necessary grant funds,” he said. “We are asking the MWCD to slow down, bring the issue back to the table and do what’s best for the county.”