For the price of $7.5 million, Salt Lake City is now the owner of the historic and long-beloved Allen Park — known to many as "Hobbitville."
A previous offer of $4 million for the secluded community in Sugar House was rejected, 2News reported in February.
The future of the park had remained in flux after its owner died in January of 2019, until the city announced its successful purchase of the property on Tuesday.
Impact funds — which must be spent on new park space or uses — will be used to buy the seven-acre property. The city explained more about the park's history in its press release:
"Allen Park was purchased in 1931 by Dr. George Allen, an Illinois-trained physician, and his wife Ruth, an artist and fashion illustrator. The couple lived in a lodge on the property with their children and an exotic bird collection. Old homes were put on new foundations and rented out over the decades."
Mayor Erin Mendenhall said of the purchase:
“Allen Park is a rare opportunity to preserve almost seven acres of unique ecosystem in a historic area that would otherwise be developed by private entities. We have heard the request from many members of our community to use parks impact fees to purchase this land, and are grateful for an opportunity to be able to do so.”
Jen Greyson, who organized the group "Save Allen Park," told 2News in February that a developer planned to build 63 town homes on the property. 2News was unable to directly confirm that with the developer at the time.
City Council Chair Chris Wharton indicated the city is on the market for help to turn the land into a public park. He said:
"This is an iconic parcel in a city that needs more open space. We hope we will have partners to help make it an important public park soon."
Greyson described Allen Park as a "magical" space, which the community at large has not had access to since its inception.
“A lot of people snuck in to find it because of the urban legend. It’s a beautiful space. It’s a magical space.”
The space won't be open to the public just yet, however. The city plans to first "evaluate its potential uses and gather community input."