Important: Comprehensive Update on Key Great Park Features
This Tuesday will be the first comprehensive community update on the Orange County Great Park Developments in over a year. This important meeting will take place on October 22, 2019 at 1:00pm in Council Chamber. The public will get to see what projects the Great Park Board (City Council) has been working on and if they resemble what was proposed for land use themes identified in public outreach initiatives from 2015 and 2017.
Here is a brief summary of the many projects in various stages that will be discussed. Click here for the entire Orange County Great Park Development Update.
The Great Park is divided into three planning areas shown in the map below.
The City of Irvine is responsible for the development of the Western Sector.
- Visitor Center Plaza rehabilitation
- Western sector roadway
Development Partner Projects
- Pretend City Children’s Museum. City finalizing terms of proposed pre-development agreement.
- Balloon Lawn playground. Existing playground moving to the area next to the balloon ride along the Visitors Center.
- USA Water Polo Facility
- Field House for indoor volleyball & basketball facility
- Parking Structure
GREAT PARK IMPROVEMENT AREA
FivePoint is responsible for designing and constructing the 688 acre Great Park Improvement Area based on a design package approved by the City Council.
- Western White Water – 35 acre outdoor recreation area.
- California Fire Museum & Safety Learning Center – Exclusive negotiating agreement.
- Police Firing Training Facility – Joint police & fire training facility.
- State Veterans Cemetery – 100 acres of land in the former golf course site. City working to expedite the State review of the site.
- Botanical Gardens – no acreage or funding identified.
The City of Irvine is responsible for the development of the Cultural Terrace. FivePoint contracted to fund up to $2 million for planning, feasibility, and related technical studies for the cultural terrace district.
- Wild Rivers Parking Lot – 14 acre parking lot for future construction of Wild Rivers water park & other uses.
Status: Preliminary design stage.
- Amphitheater – City & Live Nation to meet in December to negotiate permanent location in the Great Park.
- American Museum of Natural History. Museum studying options for building a West Coast branch in the Great Park. Community update planned for Q1 2020.
Development Partner Projects
- Wild Rivers Water Park – Water Park Facility on 25 acres along Marine Way & Sky Hawk. Proposed form of lease terms being finalized.
Susan SayreOctober 18, 2019 at 10:42 am
Why is the Great Park Board of Directors making decisions regarding the Live Nation Amphitheater being transitioned from a temporary contract to a permanent contract at the current location. It is located on private Five Point property adjacent to the Great Park. It is not located in the Great Park. The Great Park Board does not have jurisdiction over this venue.
It is interesting to note that the public will receive a presentation reviewing the Great Park projects that are being “worked on”, but I do not remember many, if any, of these projects being placed on the Great Park Board meeting agendas with supportive documents, followed by meeting discussions and public comments. Shouldn’t the projects be going to the various city commissions (Finance, Community Services, Transportation, Planning ) for discussion, input and approval? Shouldn’t the public be involved with deciding what venues will be placed in the Great Park? What happened to the goal of stimulating “robust public participation” in the decision making process? What happened to our Democratic system of checks and balances in our City’s decision making process?
Kev AbazajianOctober 21, 2019 at 9:36 pm
Note that the potential move of the Veterans Cemetery to the so-called “golf course” site takes away a significant amount of land from the northern portion of the cultural terrace, north of Great Park Blvd. See the smaller cultural terrace in the newer map: https://irvinewatchdog.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/gp.png
Irvine VoterOctober 26, 2019 at 8:19 am
No it doesn’t, it allows the ARDA (125 acres) or at least the Southern part to be added to the Great Park footprint. You can’t be legitimately trying to argue that a 100 acre cemetery takes up more Great Park on one site than a site immediately adjacent to it can you? If you mean the actual Cultural Terrace boundary is changed, it isn’t, that was done years ago.
Why isn’t Watchdog covering the Agran petition circulation lies? Last night, petition circulators were asking people to “sign a petition to prevent a hotel from being built next to their homes.” Creative, but typically dishonest for the Agran group. If Watchdog ever wants to be taken seriously as unbiased, write about why Agran, with Kevork’s help recruiting, are trying to stop a fully funded veterans cemetery from being built.
judithGOctober 26, 2019 at 9:25 am
My reply in comments:
Scott HansenOctober 26, 2019 at 10:14 am
Hi, My reply in comments as well: https://irvinewatchdog.org/2018/11/26/11-18-2017-finance-commission-meeting-report-finance-commission-punts-on-veteran-cemetery-recommendation/#comment-421
Irvine VoterOctober 28, 2019 at 7:41 am
I’ll reply to Judith and Scott on this thread because the other one is over a year old and largely irrelevant. It was Dr. Kevork who was spamming the threads.
Thanks you both for reasonable and thoughtful comments, but they aren’t sufficient. The Watchdog doesn’t get to label itself a Watchdog and then take a pass when you don’t want to fully cover an issue relating to transparency and honesty because it doesn’t fit your narrative.
If you want to be a credible resource for people, then tell them the truth; the Veterans Cemetery is set and funded for the golf course site. The Governor and the Bill Author agree on the location and that there is NO ADDITIONAL funding coming. Agran’s Initiative will do only one thing: deprive the Veterans of a cemetery at the Great Park. To pretend like it’s still about “developer trade offs” is to be willfully ignorant.
Label Agran’s Initiative what it is, another in a long line of Agran’s dishonest political tactics.
Branda LinOctober 28, 2019 at 9:25 am
Irvine Voter, for transparency purposes, would you mind using your actual name? It would also lend credibility and accountability. Also, Watchdog doesn’t have a narrative re: the Veterans Cemetery. Watchdog has not taken a position and shouldn’t. The volunteers have differing opinions.
Irvine VoterOctober 28, 2019 at 6:36 pm
Branda, no thanks. I have seen how Karen Jaffe and other Watchdog writers have personally attacked people who don’t agree with them. Writing under a name lends no credibility or accountability since I only refer to facts, facts aren’t based on who is telling them. See my link below, did the Governor not write this?
Watchdog does have a general narrative, developers are bad, the Council is bad, etc. It’s just really unbelievable that you all don’t have a comment about Larry Agran telling voters to sign a petition to “save a cemetery” or “block a hotel” when clearly the Governor, Bill Author, and Council have settled the debate. Judith, why should the “voters” of Irvine decide something with no real information vs. the residents who will be affected?
Where is the funding for the ARDA site? Please describe exactly how it will be funded if the Initiative passes. Otherwise, please begin covering the dishonesty of the latest Agran campaign.
Scott HansenOctober 29, 2019 at 10:48 am
Hi, thanks. Here’s the text of my comment:
“Dear Irvine Voter, Thank you for your post. Always glad to hear from readers. At Watchdog, my sense is we’re a fairly diverse group. We all try to focus (broadly) on three pillars: Transparency-Accountability-Honesty. We also aim to provide a more solid factual basis for our articles than is common in local media. Among the volunteers who write for Watchdog – we reach different conclusions on some issues. My own thoughts on the petition you mention: Former Mayor Agran helped to lead the fight to turn the El Toro base into a great park rather than a massive commercial airport. I feel Mayor Agran’s place in Irvine lore is secure. Since then, my own perspective has differed from his on issues, sometimes sharply. I advise those who are considering signing Mayor Agran’s petition to think critically and to read beyond his newspaper.”
Scott HansenOctober 29, 2019 at 11:18 am
Here are my thoughts on some of your comments.
1. “Watchdog does have a general narrative, developers are bad”
I wrote an article a while ago asking Irvine candidates not to take contributions from developers, and for developers not to make such contributions.https://irvinewatchdog.org/2019/08/08/op-ed-why-irvine-candidates-should-pledge-not-to-accept-developer-campaign-contributions/
The article includes a section entitled, “Irvine Developers Have Done Much Good” that may be of interest.
2. Watchdog thinks the Council is bad
Not sure what this means. The City has the lowest crime rate in the country, is among the most fiscally sound, wins awards for being among the most green cities, is known and admired around the world. The Council, Commissions, and City Staff are in my view doing a lot of things right. There are good publications that read to me like advertisements of Irvine. They make great points. But we feel our mission is different. Our role isn’t cheerleader. We try to fill a media vacuum of solid information and analysis of Irvine issues.
3. Watchdog isn’t criticizing Mayor Agran’s Veterans Cemetery petition enough.
The former Mayor is advocating for a petition to move the site of Veterans Cemetery from the Council-designated “golf course” site to the ARDA site. At present the petition is only that – a petition. It needs thousands of signatures to even get to the ballot. If it somehow makes it to the ballot, there will be a long period of public debate and, based on past initiatives, Watchdog will likely weigh in.
4. Veterans Cemetery site is settled.
Ideally that would be the case but I don’t think it is. All sorts of things can still happen. Voters could agree ARDA is a better site. Or folks in neighborhood(s) close to the new golf course site could sue for a variety of reasons and seek an injunction to halt construction. The economy could go into a slump and the State might reconsider its ability to fund the project. And there are other possibilities. I feel the site for the Cemetery will be settled once the Cemetery is built. Until then, there’s an element of uncertainty. Which is one reason I suggested at Council that Veterans take the issue out of the political football game in Irvine. Perhaps construction can start at the Anaheim Hills or Lake Forest sites long before it would be built in Irvine, and while the State still has money to fund it.
Scott HansenOctober 29, 2019 at 11:29 am
Finally, you wish to remain anonymous and that’s fine with me. In my experience, anonymous contributors range from concerned citizens of Irvine, to concerned citizens of other cities, to proxies for developers, to allies of elected officials or candidates. If we have a sense of who is writing, sometimes it gives a sense of how to address questions in a manner that is most helpful to the poster. But I respect your desire to remain anonymous. Thank you for posting!
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