Board of Orange County Great Park Grants $65.5 Million for Land Enhancement

Sports park, art and exhibition buildings, agricultural pavilion, community farm and farmer's market

The Orange County Great Park Board today approved $65.5 million in construction projects to develop land to enhance the visitors' experience at the Great Park. The project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2011 with a number of features completed by the end of 2010.

Orange County Great Park

"Today marks an exciting milestone," said Larry Agran, Chair Orange County Great Park Board Corporation. "We now move forward to begin production of the major elements of the Park that will transform the history of Orange County for ourselves and for generations to come."

"We are moving forward in the spite of the obstacles put in our path by a lawsuit filed against the City of Irvine by owners of Forest Lawn Cemetery. I commend our staff and the Great Park Design Studio for giving us a plan to build as much as we can under challenging circumstances," said Agran.

This huge construction project builds on success of the 27.5-acre existing Preview Park. The plan focuses on building out a core section of the park for the most immediate and wide-ranging public benefit. Access to the park will continue during construction, as it has since the park was opened. Visitors will experience the Park while it grows, getting a unique view on its development from on the ground as well as from the Great Park Balloon.

"Our first phase of major park development will offer a wide variety of experiences for Great Park visitors. Families will be able to take their kids to a soccer match in the Sports Park, have lunch in the historic Hangar 244 or in our Picnic Meadow, ride the Great Park Balloon, attend an art exhibition in the Palm Court, take a walk through the Great Park Farm and buy some fresh produce at the farmers market. When the sun goes down, visitors will be treated to our free summer concerts and dances and the other wonderful events that have become the anchor of our arts and cultural district," said Great Park CEO Mike Ellzey.

"I am also pleased to report that our development partners at the Great Park Neighborhoods are discussing a plan for a land swap which could expand the sports and recreational features south of Trabuco Road and give us access to historic Hangar 10, which would be a terrific place to display our collection of vintage and historic aircraft," said Ellzey.

The Board also recommended the Irvine City Council to authorize the Great Park Chief Executive Officer to negotiate the contracts for design, development, engineering and construction effective November 2009.

The approved construction plan includes the following elements:

  • Phase 1 of the Sports Park. A South Lawn containing three lighted soccer fields designed to meet or exceed City of Irvine standards and a North Lawn multi-purpose sports field suitable and large enough for three additional soccer fields. Sports Park improvements will also include the 9-acre "Timeline West" featuring shade structures, seating, trees and a Class II bike trail.

  • The Palm Court area and Arts & Culture Exhibition space. The Palm Court will be a formal area within the Great Park used for special event programming, arts and cultural exhibitions, and every day use. The space is defined by the existing flanking squadron buildings to the north and south and Hangar 244 to the east. The buildings will be renovated to accommodate uses including art and culture exhibitions and flexible-use space. The buildings will serve to further activate the courtyard.

  • Great Park Farms and Citrus Orchard. A 100-acre working farm designed to provide fresh, locally grown organic produce to the public and to area food banks. It will be bordered by a 2500-tree orange orchard, planted with trees which have been donated through the Great Par Conservancy. The site will be graded to construct water quality basins and provide soil amendments suitable for farming. Facilities and site features will be provided in the agriculture area to enhance farm maintenance operations, provide interpretive elements, and plant the proposed water quality basin.

  • Agricultural Pavilion. The Agricultural Pavilion will be an iconic Park structure located in the Park's western section. The current program concept is to create a grand permanent structure that will serve as an "upscale" roadside farm stand as well as a community networking center. The facility will be capable of accommodating many different agricultural and cultural purposes, including but not limited to a produce stand for the Great park farmer to sell farm items, a Wi-Fi connected meeting space and a cafe.

  • Community Gardens and Food and Farm Lab Exhibitions. A 1.5-acre Community Garden will be located directly west of the existing Farm and Food Lab and adjacent to "C" Street. The community Garden will consist of small soil plots where local community members can grow their own garden. Decomposed granite pathways, interpretive signage, and seating will be located throughout the area. In addition, enhancement to the 1.5-acre Farm and Food Lab include additional features within the existing area to activate the site further for programs and educational activities.

  • Picnic Meadoow. A 14-acre play and picnic area with large shade trees will be developed adjacent to the Festival Event site

  • Transportation, Access and Parking. A number of transportation, access and parking improvement swill be made, including:
  1. Central Timeline. A 5-acre area of runway connecting the Preview Park to the new Park Farms will be upgraded with shade structures, trees and planters.

  2. Marine Way and "C" Street improvement plans will be prepared. Pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular safety upgrades to existing Marine Way from Sand Canyon to "C" Street are included. The budget also includes an allowance for safety upgrades including the addition of a Class II bike lane and road repairs to existing "C" Street north of the Preview Park entrance through Heritage Fields property to Trabuco Road. This package also includes the design of additional "C" street safety improvements and signage.

  3. A 5-acre pedestrian/bus drop-off and parking for 120 cars with access to the Sports Park.

  4. Additional parking in and around the Sports Park area.
  • Runway Removal. Runways will be demolished as necessary to complete the Western Sector Park Development Plan (Phase 1). Heritage Fields is obligated to remove runway materials as part of the Hardscape Recycling Agreement. This agreement was modified and the obligation for removal incorporated into a revised Master Implementation Agreement. Since that agreement is held in abeyance due to the legal challenge to the Amended and Restated Development Agreement, the Corporation has budgeted to complete this work without the assistance of Heritage Fields.

  • Utilities and Infrastructure. New Park infrastructure for recycled water and electrical power will be constructed to support the Western Sector Park Development Plan (Phase 1). Recycled water will be provided to agricultural areas and along the Timeline to the westerly edge of the existing Preview Park. Power will be provided form the Festival Event site to the vicinity of the Timeline West.

  • The Lake. The design of the Lake will be modified to enable it to serve as a reservoir for Park irrigation. The development plans include fundin


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