July 14, 2010
Posted: 01:09 PM ET
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The former home of the King of Pop could become California's latest state park under an idea being floated by a California state lawmaker.
Assemblyman Mike Davis said Tuesday that he believes it's worth studying whether the California Department of Parks and Recreation should take over the Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara County.
The Los Angeles legislator said fans from around the world would visit Michael Jackson's former estate.
Jackson's 2,500-acre estate once housed amusement park rides and a zoo with tigers and snakes, but many of the estate's attractions were dismantled or sold after his death in 2009.
Colony Capital LLC, a Santa Barbara-based private equity firm, took control of Neverland in a venture with Jackson after he nearly lost the estate to foreclosure. Jackson signed over control of the estate to Colony Capital for $35 million in 2008.
That company now co-owns the estate with the Jackson family. Colony spokesman Owen Blicksilver declined to comment on the proposal.
The success of the proposal is uncertain in a state where the budget deficit stands at $19 billion. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger previously proposed selling the state's landmark buildings to raise cash to cover the shortfall.
"Given that we have an economic shortfall ... I suspect it would be difficult for the State Parks Department to purchase the property alone," Davis said. He would propose a public-private partnership.
Davis said the plan remains only an idea at the moment and that he might introduce a bill or resolution on the matter after lawmakers return from their monthlong recess in August.
Filed under: Michael Jackson
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