The scheduled foreclosure auction next week of the abandoned Dogpatch theme park in Newton County has been canceled.Online records indicate Judge Gordon Webb’s order canceling the pending foreclosure sale was filed in Newton County Circuit Court Wednesday.Stewart Nance of Eureka Springs, one of the mortgage holders, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Dogpatch is under contract to be sold to a “solid buyer.”Nance said Tuesday he couldn’t reveal the buyer’s name.
He said the foreclosure auction has been postponed for two months pending contract negotiations with the buyer.
Nance, his son John Pruett Nance of Rogers and their attorney Gregory Brent Baber of Little Rock hold the mortgage on the property.
A Notice of Commissioner’s Sale was filed Jan. 23 in Newton County Circuit Court, two days after Circuit Judge Gordon Webb signed a decree of foreclosure on the property.
According to the decree, Great American Spillproof Products Inc. had 10 days from Jan. 21 to pay $1.03 million owed on the 400-acre property.
If that didn’t happen, the property was to be advertised for sale at auction for 10 days in a newspaper published and circulated in Newton County, according to the decree.
Stewart Nance said earlier if the foreclosure auction took place, he would start the bidding at $1 million.
The mortgage holders filed suit in September against Great American Spillproof Products after it fell behind on lease payments and missed a balloon payment for the total amount due in August.
Great American Spillproof Products bought the Dogpatch property for $2 million in 2014. Besides a $1 million promissory note, the company had paid $1 million.
Charles “Bud” Pelsor, president of Great American Spillproof Products, said in December he was giving up on his dream of turning the abandoned theme park into an “ecotourism village.”
Pelsor and his business partners — James and Susan Robertson of Newbury Park, Calif. — had been trying to sell the Dogpatch property since 2016, during which time the asking priced dropped from $3 million to $1.25 million.
The Robertsons are listed as defendants in the lawsuit, along with David “Shawn” Smith, who had a $2,840 lien on the property.
The Robertsons took out a second mortgage on the property in 2014 in the amount of $1.2 million, according to the lawsuit.
Constructed in 1967 for $1.33 million, Dogpatch USA originally featured a trout farm, buggy and horseback rides, an apiary, Ozark arts and crafts, gift shops and entertainment by characters from Al Capp’s “Li’l Abner” comic strip, according to the Central Arkansas Library System’s Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Amusement rides were added later.
In 1968, the first full year of operation, the general manager reported that Dogpatch had 300,000 visitors.
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