One of the world's most iconic signs -- the Hollywood Sign -- has been saved from urban blight.

And you can thank Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, whose last minute donation of $900,000 to a grass-roots campaign has helped preserve the sign and prevented development from sprawling around the landmark, according to a report in the

Two years ago a group of Chicago investors -- which owns 138 acres behind, and to the left, of the sign, at what is called Cahuenga Peak -- put the parcel of land up for sale for $22 million, raising the spectre of homes being built close to the foot of the nine most famous letters in the world. The property was zoned to build four luxury homes.

Hollywood and community activists, spearheaded by the The Trust for Public Land, jumped into action and began a grass-roots fund-raising effort to save the peak from development. In April, 2009, TPL negotiated the price down to $12.5 million and signed an option to buy the land so that it could be added to -- and come under the protection of -- Griffith Park.
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