- Associated Press - Friday, January 15, 2021

NEWARK, Ohio (AP) - The Ohio Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing for debate over providing public access to a set of ancient burial mounds.

At issue before the court is the 2,000-year-old Octagon Mounds in Newark in central Ohio, part of the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks. The earthworks, with several sites in Ohio, have been proposed for nomination to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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

The state Supreme Court on Friday set oral arguments for April 13.

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.



The country club is challenging the attempt to take the property, saying the Ohio History Connection did not make a good faith offer as required by state law. The country club says it has provided proper upkeep of the mound and allowed public access over the years.

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