The $1 billion Great Park project in Orange County, California, will convert a former military base into one of the largest municipal parks in the country within a decade. Phase one of the 1,300-acre project in Irvine began on May 23 and will feature north and south lakes, an amphitheater, museums, a botanic garden, Veterans Memorial Park and Gardens, an aquatic center, a sports complex, and more.
City officials estimate that the completed project will be twice the size of New York’s Central Park. Funding for the project comes from community contributions, redevelopment-related settlement funds, and three bonds totaling $455 million, to be repaid over the next three decades.
“After many years of community input and after the last year of intensive planning and design,” says Irvine City Councilman Michael Carroll who serves as Chairman of the Great Park Board. "We are excited to be launching what is a $1 billion investment to establish the world’s next great metropolitan park.”
The Great Park occupies the site of the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. The development was approved by voters in 2002 and the U.S. Navy. However, financial setbacks occurred in 2008, and the project stalled in 2012 due to the redirection of $1.4 billion in property tax funds by the state.
The city approved the Great Park Framework Plan last year, outlining the development of an additional 300 acres with lakes, gardens, live music venues, museums, meadows, and spaces to honor veterans. Completion is expected by 2032, with groundbreaking already initiated.
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