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Neverland Ranch Calif.'s new state park?

A California lawmaker is eyeing the late Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch estate as an addition to the state's parks.

July 14, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A state lawmaker is considering a plan to turn Neverland Ranch, the former home of the late Michael Jackson, into what could become California's latest state park. Assemblyman Mike Davis, Los Angeles, said fans from all over the world would flock to Jackson's former estate in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Davis wants the California Department of Parks and Recreation to explore the feasibility of taking over the 2,500-acre estate.

The estate is now co-owned by the Jackson family and Colony Capital LLC, a Santa Barbara-based private equity firm that took control of Neverland Ranch in a venture with Michael Jackson after he nearly lost the estate to foreclosure.

Turning the sprawling estate into a state park would face many obstacles, including the state's own fiscal woes. California is facing a budget shortfall of $19 billion.

"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. "I am committed to finding out all the details possible to make this a good proposal."

Last year, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed closing 220 of California's 279 state parks to save money. He later backed down on that proposal. The governor and lawmakers later agreed to close half the parks on certain days and reduce services.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.