California commission floats idea of outsourcing Hearst Castle operations
March 26, 2013
The Little Hoover Commission released a report Monday to the governor and prominent members of the legislature calling for an overhaul of the California Department of Parks and Recreation. The report stated that Hearst Castle should not be a “sacred cow” and could be “better maintained by an operator other than the parks system.”
In a section titled, “Should Hearst Castle be in the State Park System?” the Little Hoover Commission floated the idea of the state turning over Hearst Castle’s European art collection to the Getty Museum.
Although the castle brings in more than $1 million a year and is the third highest revenue generator for the state parks system, its annual operating, maintenance and restoration costs exceed its income. The castle currently has an estimated $60 million in deferred maintenance costs. Putting a new roof on the north wing alone is expected to cost the state $1.8 million, the report says.
William Randolph Hearst’s family deeded his 115-room hilltop castle to the state in 1958. A 1979 Los Angeles Times report stated that Hearst initially willed the property to the University of California, which then recommended it become a state park because it could not afford the upkeep.
The governor and legislature appointed Little Hoover Commission now says that state parks allocations for the castle “do not begin to keep pace” with its maintenance and restoration needs.