Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Plan to preserve displays at Tucson's Magic Carpet Golf hits snags

[Source: Jack Gillum, Daily Star] -- The kitschy displays at Magic Carpet Golf may meet their maker before they meet a mover. The sphinx, T-Rex and other larger-than-life statues at the mini-golf course may not fare well during a move, some experts say, making preservation efforts at the now- defunct park more difficult. The course, 6125 E. Speedway, closed last month after a 30-plus-year run in Tucson. Two 18-hole courses were built around offbeat creations, such as a spinning daisy fashioned out of plywood and a towering monkey crafted from who-knows-what. Some people want to save the displays as local artifacts. The problem now, said those who recently surveyed the grounds, is that the aging structures — made from a mix of rebar, concrete and fiberglass — could fare poorly when disturbed.

"Not one of these pieces is going to come out the same," said Brad Copley, who was contacted by Tucson's Valley of the Moon because of his expertise in moving heavy objects — namely, trees. He toured the park on Tuesday, at times poking and prodding at the old pieces of art to test their integrity. Golf N' Stuff General Manager Ted Williams, who recently toured the grounds, said the figures are either too heavy or too unstable to survive a haul. And that doesn't take into account damage sustained by three decades of abuse. In some cases, he said, "you have a structure that's never intended to be moved." But Williams said he'd like to move a couple of Magic Carpet's smaller figures, such as a concrete spider, to his course. Magic Carpet was sold Jan. 4 for $1.8 million to Tempe-based Chapman Automotive Group, which owns a nearby Mercedes dealership. Since then, several Tucsonans have come forward to find ways to save what they call unique pieces of the city's history.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Arizona Daily Star.]