A groundbreaking ceremony held on May 23 marked the start of work on a major expansion of the Great Park in Irvine.
The Great Park Framework Plan, as the next phase of the project is called, commenced with the demolition of a former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro building, which will set the stage for 300 acres of new green space and amenities.
“The groundbreaking of the next phase of development at the Great Park is just the beginning,” said Great Park Chairman Mike Carroll in a news release. “The next phase not only brings 300 acres of incredible amenities and services for Irvine, Orange County, California, and beyond, it takes the City of Irvine to the next level. I am ecstatic to lead this unique and innovative charge and I believe that the Great Park will be one of the best metropolitan parks in the world.”
Per a project website, the new facilities in the framework plan will include:
- Veterans Memorial Park and Gardens, which will preserve an existing tarmac as a Walk of Honor commemorating the pilots, support personnel, and others who worked at the former base;
- Botanical gardens anchored by a series of trails and dry creeks with multiple themed spaces;
- a Library adjacent to the Botanical Gardens and Veteran's Memorial Park;
- an Arboretum with a collection of plant species from around the world;
- a Grand Promenade serving as a two-mile pedestrian connection through the park between Cadence and the Irvine Train Station;
- the Great Meadow, which would provide a large open space within the park;
- North Lake, a 13.7-acre visual centerpiece for Great Park;
- South Lake, an additional 4.1 acres of water surrounded by amenities;
- an Amphitheater with space for up to 14,000 seats operated by Live Nation;
- Full Circle Farm, which would be used for special events and farm-to-table dining and programming;
- Multi-modal bridges providing access across the park; Bosque enhancements including sculpted terrain, trails, and landscaping;
- an enhanced Sports Complex with a food and beverage hub, an aquatic center, seating areas, and walkways;
- a Cultural Terrace with space for museums and cultural amenities; and
- the Wild Rivers waterpark, which opened in July 2022.
The full project, which is now an estimated price tag of more than $1 billion, will span across 1,300 acres of land when completed, making the Great Park one of the largest municipal parks in the world.
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