Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch as a California State Park?
They did it with Hearst Castle, which is fascinatingly whacky in its own right, so why not Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch? An idea spawned by the California NAACP and now being pushed by a Los Angeles Assemblymember could mean Jackson's former Santa Barbara County home near Los Olivos may someday be a California State Park.
But can cash-strapped California afford the $100 million tab? Not when state park officials are struggling to keep the system open to the public. Perhaps if park-funding Prop 21 passes on the November ballot, the discussion might be different, but for now the idea is such stuff dreams are made of.
Nonetheless, Democrat Assemblyman Mike Davis says he at least wants the issue studied. "It will absolutely be a destination for many who admire music and the performing arts," he told the LA Times. To the Associated Press, he acknowledged the state budget crisis and explained he would propose a public-private partnership and may introduce legislation in August. "I am committed to finding out all the details possible to make this a good proposal," he said.
As for comparing a possible Neverland Ranch operation to Hearst Castle, the home built by William Randolph Hearst in San Simeon, a state parks spokesperson told the Santa Barbara-based Noozhawk that "even though it charges $24 per visitor... it scarcely breaks even on a property that is very expensive to maintain."
Jackson signed over control of the 2,500-acre estate in 2008 for $35 million to Santa Barbara-based private equity firm Colony Capital LLC when he almost lost it in foreclosure.