Michael Jackson's Neverland: A new state park for California?
Would turning pop star's estate into public park exacerbate — or ease — the Golden State's epic budget crunch?
In cash-strapped California, a few public officials are urging the state to purchase Michael Jackson's 2,600-acre Neverland ranch and turn it into a public park. "It will absolutely be a destination for many who admire music and the performing arts," says assemblyman Mike Davis. But the parks department say it's struggling to keep existing facilities open and cannot afford a new property valued at close to $100 million. Supporters of the plan counter that a Neverland park could ease California's budget woes, pointing to the success of Elvis Presley's Graceland estate, which generated $36 million in revenue last year. "I think Michael's history is world history, and I think it would become the No. 1 attraction for the state parks," says California NAACP president Alice Huffman. But the purchase price would only be the beginning, says the WSJ Speakeasy blog. Neverland "sits on a narrow rural road, near two schools, which would presumably require major improvements to handle the kind of crowds a public park would attract." Watch a discussion here: