Friday, January 25, 2008

Efforts under way to save Tucson's Magic Carpet menagerie

[Source: Jack Gillum, Daily Star] -- There may be time to save paradise before they put up a parking lot. A state representative is in talks with the new owners of Magic Carpet Golf on East Speedway to designate the mini-golf course's larger-than-life statues in the Arizona Centennial Project, a state historic preservation effort. "It's just so eccentric and unique," said State Rep. Steve Farley, D-Tucson. He added that the oddball structures at the park may find a new home at Tucson's Valley of the Moon. "It's really important to save the soul of a place," Farley said. Magic Carpet, at 6125 E. Speedway, is known for its skyline of towering monkey and T-Rex figures that complement a decrepit miniature-golf course. But the park's former owner, Carol Koplin, sold the property Jan. 4 to the Chapman Automotive Group for $1.8 million because her uncle, who ran the park, died before Christmas. Chapman may use the property as an overflow lot for its nearby Mercedes dealership.