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Simi to Ask Conservancy for Aid on Hopetown Park

July 22, 1987

The Simi Valley City Council has voted to ask the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy for $1 million to help establish a park on the site of Hopetown Ranch, a former movie set.

The conservancy, which buys land to preserve in a natural state for public use, is to consider the request at its Aug. 4 meeting.

The proposal, passed by the council Monday, must also be approved by the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District, which is collaborating with Simi Valley in the park effort.

The money from the conservancy would help Griffin Homes, a Calabasas developer, to purchase the property for $4.6 million, Don Hunt, Rancho Simi spokesman, said. About 230 homes would be built on 40 acres, and the remaining 179 acres would be preserved as parkland.

Hopetown Ranch, nestled between the Simi Valley Freeway and an industrial park in the hilly southeast corner of Simi Valley, was originally called Corriganville after its former owner, actor Raymond (Crash) Corrigan. The site was renamed Hopetown when comedian Bob Hope bought it in 1965.

More than 3,500 Western films and television series were shot there, including "Gunsmoke," "The Lone Ranger," "Robin Hood" and "Lassie." The movie set was destroyed by fire in the 1970s.

Griffin Homes purchased an option to buy the 212 acres more than three years ago, Elaine Freeman, a Griffin vice president, said.

Freeman said that, because of the rugged terrain of Hopetown Ranch, much of it cannot be used for residential development.

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