OC Great Park: Surf Park Tabled, Wild Rivers Delayed, COVID-19 Budget Adjustments

The OC Great Park Board met on Tuesday, June 23rd to review the monthly development report and to approve next year’s Great Park budget with adjustments due to a reduction in program and service fees. Irvine’s fiscal year begins July 1st. The Executive Director of the Great Park John Russo, recently announced he’s leaving his position in September to spend more time with family. So far, there has been no mention of the recruitment process to fill this key position.

GP Board Meeting Highlights

Wild Rivers

The opening for Wild Rivers is pushed back to Spring of 2022. The environmental and regulatory review process is in progress. The Wild Rivers/Sports Complex auxiliary parking lot ($11.7 million) is in the design and construction drawing phase.

Surf Park

The surf park agenda item was pulled from the meeting and not discussed. Chairwoman Farrah Khan explained that she wanted a Great Park conceptual plan in place before considering any new projects.

Last month the Board requested FivePoint to attend the June meeting to provide an update on their projects including the USA Water Polo complex. When Board Member Christina Shea asked why FivePoint wasn’t at the meeting, the Assistant City Manager said they were told that FivePoint was not available to attend. Chairwoman Khan said she is in communication with the developer and will provide new information as it becomes available. Khan mentioned that FivePoint is waiting for more state and city guidelines regarding COVID-19 before moving forward.

Irvine Ice Foundation

The Irvine Ice Foundation presentation originally on the March agenda is being rescheduled. The Irvine Ice Foundation operates The Great Park Ice & FivePoint Arena on property leased from the city. The ice facility opened a year ago and at the end of the designated lease terms ownership will revert to the city.


Great Park Operating Budget 2020-21

The operating fund reflects the revenues and expenditures for the park and is one of three funds used to operate the Great Park. The board approved the revised 2020-21 operating budget.  Reductions in park operations are projected because of state Covid-19 reopening guidelines.  A $2.48 million revenue dip in program & service fees and a $100,000 reduction in operating fees is offset by $372,950 in savings from switching to a virtual Global Village event and the scaled down park operations.

Revenue Sources:

In addition to program and service fees the two main revenue sources are:

  1. Assessment Revenue – represents the percent of money earmarked from the Great Park CFD proceeds for park maintenance costs. This is a set guaranteed payment under the terms of the ARDA agreement for authorized purposes.
  2. Miscellaneous Revenue – covers a range from rental income, vending and parking fees, etc. It’s forecast to go trend down because of COVID-19 and reduced park operations.


Expense Drivers:

In addition to salary and benefit costs the two main expense drivers are:

  1. Contract Services – Landscape maintenance and facility maintenance make up half of the total contract services costs followed by professional service contracts like architects and engineers. Contract class instructors are cost neutral via the fees for the classes.
  2. Transfers-Out – This represents a $10,000,000 developer payment for the Marine Way road construction project, $1,000,000 for the IUSD educational partnership funding and $93,814 reserved for other capital improvement projects.


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