Op-Ed: Building the Great Park… Building A Public Bypass As Well?

According to a January 14, 2020 article from the Orange County Register, Irvine has found a “new Great Park location for a bigger Wild Rivers water park”.  This was the first time anybody had heard about Wild Rivers moving to a new location. Here are the recent details provided by this article:

  • This new site “is within the Great Park’s planned cultural terrace”.
  • According to City Manager Russo, “there will be a buffer between the new water park and the entrance to a planned veterans cemetery”.
  • This new site “will require design changes and environmental review”.
  • This new site “will be 50% larger than the old one”.


This detailed information was not provided during the City Manager’s report at the January 14th City Council meeting. The Council authorized Mr. Russo to provide a brief report where he stated, “we have an agreement in principle with Wild Rivers LLC for the construction of a water park.”

Given the timing of the very detailed article, we wonder how the OC Register received details regarding this project that the City Manager was unable or unwilling to provide to the residents.

You can watch City Manager Russo’s report below. To watch the entire Council meeting click HERE.

Because the City Manager and the Great Park Board (which consist of the City Councilmembers) are making decisions using City assets and controlling our public dollars that shape the Great Park footprint, they agreed last year to do a better job of communicating to the residents and receiving input. After all, Irvine residents have a direct interest in their actions, for both financial reasons and quality of life issues.

Community members continue to have valid questions about the City’s vision for our Great Park and how our leadership is managing the process. Tuesday, January 28th at 2pm is the Great Park Board’s next monthly meeting. Here is the agenda and below is the staff report on Wild Rivers which is found under agenda item 1.2. Notice the different in detail?

If no public information is deemed to be shareable at that time, we should check that evening’s edition of the Orange County Register to be sure.

*Updated January 21, 2020 with video of City Manager John Russo’s report on Wild Rivers.

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