A few years ago a plot of dirt was saved from developers by two celebrities who call Fawnskin their home away from home. Shirley Jones and Marty Ingles bought the lots slated for development and turned the plot of dirt into a sanctuary for Fawnskin.

Fawn Park is about to bloom, according to Ingels. Now a nonprofit facility, a public fund-raising campaign is bringing out the checkbooks of such notables as Pat Boone, David Copperfield and Clint Eastwood.

"And the amazing thing, some of these people have never even seen Big Bear but were apparently taken with the spirit of freedom, both environmental and political, the little park symbolized from the beginning," Ingels said in an exclusive interview with The Grizzly.

"Even more gratifying is that the Hollywood shakers have been more than matched by checks from local, just plain on-the-mountain folk who are bursting with pride for their new round-the-corner theme park," Ingels added.

Fawn Park will include picnic tables, volleyball and horseshoe courts, a full stage area and a memorial display with its centerpiece a 400-pound piece of the Twin Towers that were destroyed in the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The New York City legislature voted last year to gift the Twin Tower remembrance to the park. It was one of the last pieces of steel donated. Ingels, a New York native, wrote the following dedication for the memorial:

"Swift, the unthinkable carnage;

Forever, the fall-out of righteousness.

But sleep, angels all, in soft repose …

Joined, as one, in common, eternal testament

To the imperishable Oasis of Liberty

That will ever be your America."

Comedian Ingels cracks jokes at the drop of a hat. He finds humor in the mundane, but there is no mistaking his passion when it comes to Fawn Park. He is proud of this little piece of paradise in the mountains and the tribute it will be to fallen heroes. He knows he is helping to create something special that will be remembered.

Fawn Park was once nine parcels slated to become a retail strip mall when Jones and Ingels purchased the land. On March 26, 2003, Fawn Park was incorporated as a nonprofit public benefit corporation for public and charitable purposes.

Ingels is on the campaign trail, seeking donations to complete Fawn Park as he envisions. Shirley Jones is in New York preparing for opening night on Broadway with her son Patrick Cassidy. The two open in "42nd Street" on May 7.

Ingels said any size contribution is welcome, big or small. A grand ribbon cutting is planned for 2005 when the park is complete. Stars, celebrities and even politicians are expected along with "anyone who loves the peace and quiet of our natural national paradise and the too-often embattled symbol of America's noble fight to protect and preserve it," Ingels and Jones say.

Donations for Fawn Park can be sent to 4531 Noeline Way, Encino, CA 91436.

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