One of the biggest casualties since the death of California Redevelopment has been the Orange County Great Park. The 1,360-acre expanse on the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station near Irvine has seen more than $1 billion in funds redirected to other state priorities, putting its future in severe jeopardy.
One (very) partial solution just emerged, according to the LA Times: developer Fivepoint Communities would more than double the number of residences surrounding the park in exchange for chipping in $200 million to the city of Irvine to aid with park construction.
Of course that’s just a small fraction of what’s needed, leaving many wondering if the park, which is not even one-tenth complete, will ever be finished. But City Council member Larry Agran disagrees: ”The fact of the matter is, the Great Park will be built. It may take longer than 20, 25 years, maybe 30 or 40 years. We’re making progress, and major construction is underway right now at the Great Park.”
Is the air coming out of the big orange balloon? Orange County’s Great Park, which is rising on the former El Toro Marine Base in Irvine, has since its inception in 2002 been the last great hope for OC residents hoping for a great rural retreat (landscape architects like Ken Smith and Mia Lehrer are among those working on it). But the housing market has now officially gotten in the way, delaying the needed $1.4 billion in construction funding by years. According to The Orange County Register, the 1,347-acre park will have only $17 million in unallocated funds by next summer, and building money is still years away. “I don’t know where the idea materialized out there that somehow we would have the great metropolitan park developed full scale within a matter of a few years,” said Great Park Chairman Larry Agran. “Nobody ever promised that, and certainly I believe we have been quite clear that you build out a park of this magnitude in typically a 15- or 20-year process.”