Dogpatch Theme Park Appears Headed for Courthouse Auction

From: KTLO

The clock is ticking to avoid an auction at the entrance to the Newton County courthouse on March 3 of the abandoned Dogpatch theme park.

Online court records indicate a Notice of Commissioner’s Sale was filed last week, two days after Circuit Court Judge Gordon Webb signed a decree of foreclosure.

The decree notes Great American Spillproof Products has 10 days from Judge Webb’s decree to pay over $1 million owed on the 400-acre property located on State Highway 7 between Harrison and Jasper.

If the park’s owners don’t make the payment deadline, the property will be advertised for sale at auction.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports Stewart Nance of Eureka Springs says he doesn’t foresee Great American Spillproof Products coming up with the money.

Nance, his son John Pruett Nance of Rogers and their attorney Gregory Brent Baber of Little Rock hold the mortgage on the property.

They 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 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, the inventor of a spill-proof dog bowl, said he was moving back to Indiana.

Pelsor and his business partners — James and Susan Robertson of Newbury Park, Calif. — had been trying to sell the Dogpatch property for years. The property is listed for sale at $1.25 million — down from $3 million when it was first posted in 2016.

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 for $1.2 million, according to the lawsuit.

If an auction is held, Nance said he will start the bidding at $1 million.

Donnie Davis, the Newton County circuit clerk, will offer the property for sale at 9:30 a.m. March 3 at the east door of the Jasper courthouse, according to the court filing.

Constructed in 1967 for $1.33 million (about $10 million in today’s dollars), Dogpatch 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.

Dogpatch had about 300,000 visitors in 1968 but never publicly reported more than 200,000 a year after that, according to arkansasroadstories.com.

The Nances acquired the property in 2011 in lieu of a $764,582 court judgment against the previous owners.

The Nances sued them after Pruett Nance was severely injured in 2005 when he rode an all-terrain vehicle on a road through the abandoned park and hit a cable strung between two trees. Pruett Nance’s trachea was severed and his neck was broken as a result.

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