Ohio Supreme Court to hear country club’s appeal on lease

State

NEWARK, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court will hear a country club’s appeal of orders that it sell back a lease to the state historical agency to provide public access to ancient burial mounds.

In a decision announced Tuesday, the court voted 5-2 to hear the case, with Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justice R. Patrick DeWine dissenting. Justice Patrick Fischer accepted the appeal only on the narrower issue of property appraisals.

A date for the hearing has not been determined.

A Licking County judge ruled in May 2019 that the Ohio History Connection can reclaim the lease for the 2,000-year-old Octagon Mounds from Moundbuilders Country Club via eminent domain. That ruling was upheld in January by the Ohio Fifth District Court of Appeals.

The Ohio History Connection has leased the 134-acre property in Newark to Moundbuilders, where golf has been played since 1910. The agency wants to buy back the lease and convert the property to a park to improve public access to Octagon Mounds, part of the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks proposed for nomination to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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