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This is the Prairie Gulch Western street where much of the action took place when Frontier Town was running. (Lohr McKinstry/Staff Photo)

Frontier Town tax sale canceled

Lawmakers instead sell defunct Wild West park to town; high-bidder objects

By: By LOHR McKINSTRY

---- — ELIZABETHTOWN — The Frontier Town theme park won’t be sold to the highest bidder from the recent tax auction after all.

It will instead go to the Town of North Hudson, where it's located.

On Monday, the Essex County Board of Supervisors removed the four Frontier Town parcels won by George Moore of Keeseville and turned them over to North Hudson at the request of Town Supervisor Ronald Moore (R-North Hudson).

The town will pay Essex County $60,000, Supervisor Moore said, which is $10,500 more than the $49,500 that George Moore bid in the April 30 tax sale. (Ronald Moore said he is not related to George Moore.)

The board gave the switch its unanimous OK at a special meeting, with Supervisor Gerald Morrow (D-Chesterfield) absent.

BELOW MINIMUM

Supervisor Moore said his reason for wanting to nullify the auction sale was that Frontier Town had gone for less than the $143,000 owned on it in back taxes since 2006.

He said there was an understanding from the Frontier Town Task Force that he chaired not to approve a sale for less than the amount of taxes owed.

“The Board of Supervisors recommended that the minimum bid would be the amount of taxes owed,” the supervisor said. “I think it was clear a reserve was set of $143,000 minimum.”

'EXTREMELY UNHAPPY'

Contacted Monday afternoon by the Press-Republican, George Moore pointed out that the price from North Hudson still doesn’t cover the taxes owed on the house.

The county covers the unpaid taxes for the towns and school districts each year, so the full amount owed is to the county.

George Moore said he has contacted his attorney, William Russell of Russell & McCormick in Keeseville, to see what action he can take.

“I told my attorney I will top North Hudson’s bid. I am extremely unhappy with my turn of events. I was told it (the $49,500) was a fair price. It topped all other bids.”

PAYS TAXES

Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah) spoke against undoing the auction results.

“I think this is a sticky situation,” Scozzafava said. “The guy (George Moore) that bid the property certainly pays his taxes.”

George Moore bought the Frontier Town A-frame entrance building at the previous county tax auction and has kept taxes on it paid ever since.

Although George Moore previously told the Press-Republican he sees opportunities for a campground at Frontier Town, which has been closed since the 1998 season ended, Supervisor Moore told lawmakers he has different information.

“It’s my impression his family will try to resell that property,” Supervisor Moore said.

He said his Town Council wants Frontier Town for recreational and other purposes. Supervisor Moore said that acquiring the property was “critical to the economic growth of North Hudson.”

SCROON SITES

The only other properties pulled from the sale were two in the Town of Schroon that sold to Brian Caza of Schroon Lake for $4,500.

Supervisor Michael Marnell (R-Schroon) said he wanted to negotiate with Caza for a town snowmobile-trail easement over the parcels before the sale was finalized.

REPUBLIC STEEL

The Board of Supervisors OK’d the sale of the other 99 properties in the auction, including the old Republic Steel office building in Moriah’s Mineville hamlet for $10,500 to All Kings Brokerage of Brooklyn.

The property was already owned by the county and not up for back taxes.

Scozzafava said he spoke with an All Kings representative and was told the most likely use is conversion to senior housing.

Email Lohr McKinstry: lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

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