Great Park Developments Picking Up Speed

Today, October 22nd at 1pm, the community will receive the first of a series of monthly Great Park development updates — something the public has requested for over a year. After a presentation from City Manager John Russo, the City Council will discuss their goals and vision for the Great Park.

Then at 4pm tonight, the City Council is scheduled to vote on a $250 million agreement for the funding, design, and construction of several proposed Great Park facilities, and for funding toward the design and construction of the Veterans Cemetery on the golf course site in the Great Park.

Observations and Concerns

The public will only be receiving a general update on Great Park developments during the Great Park Board meeting. However, the City Council will be voting on funding just hours later on contractual agreements. We expect greater transparency and accountability to the public stakeholders.

The intent behind the Fiscal Transparency and Reform Act approved by Irvine voters in 2014 was to ensure “greater fiscal transparency and efficiency to Great Park spending”. Yet, we have not had community workshops or any meaningful public dialogue on the planning of the Great Park since the last outreach meeting in 2017.

The City Council is exercising its power to execute an agreement for the development of a section in the Great Park along with FivePoint.  The staff report for this item is packed with information, including a new City of Irvine-FivePoint agreement with contractual obligations drafted under the City Council’s direction. Here is the full report.

Report Highlights

  • Two attractions – USA Water Polo Aquatic Facility & a Field-house facility. Both large scale and designed for hosting super regional tournaments & competitions. The City will own and maintain both. The new facilities will be in close proximity to the Great Park Ice facility, across Hornet street.
  • The sale of CFD bonds via a $250 million agreement for the funding, design, and construction of the new facilities & parking structures.
  • Park design changes – Golf course eliminated and replaced with an obligation for FivePoint to build passive parks & trails – how the planned insertion of a Veterans Cemetery on that parcel affects the amount or location of these amenities remains unclear.
  • Modification of the boundaries of the OC Great Park improvement area.
  • FivePoint’s obligations and funding toward the possible design and construction of the Veterans Cemetery on the golf course site in the Great Park.

The details are important and the public is only getting their first public meeting on this today at 1pm. We are encouraged that this meeting is taking place but would have preferred greater transparency and community dialogue before the City Council votes on funding mechanisms and contract language.