9/20/2007 L.A. Watts Times (AP)
The state has agreed to pay $3.5 million to a Tulare County farmer to prevent two large dairies from being built near a park that pays tribute to a black community founded by a freed slave. Under the agreement reached Sept. 10, the state Department of Parks and Recreation will pay Sam Etchegaray to guarantee he won’t build dairies near Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park.
Etchegaray will still own the land and can continue farming it, but he will be barred from running “any type of animal Operation” on the two parcels he had targeted for dairies. The bill requires final approval by the state Public Works Board. “ Today’s agreement protects the cultural and historical significance of Allensworth State Park, while at the same time respecting private property rights,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement. The park, which historians and black leaders consider sacred ground, is named after Col. Allen AlIensworth, who founded the town in 1908. Allensworth became the only California town founded and operated by blacks.