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Author: Roger Bloom

Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum Coming to the Great Park

The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum is preparing to land at its new permanent home in the Great Park.

The Irvine City Council recently approved a pre-development agreement that should lead to the groundbreaking for the museum as early as next year.

A state-of-the-art 100,000 square foot museum is being built in the Cultural Terrace area of the Great Park, adjacent to the existing Sports Complex.

It will feature more than 40 aircraft as well as related artifacts and displays — including an ejection seat, radar, night vision and air traffic control exhibits. There will also be a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education facility.

Meanwhile, aircraft for the new museum are being housed and refurbished in Hangar 296.

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Mega-Warehouse Development Coming to Irvine

Just over 27,000 Irvine residents live in the IBC neighborhood, most of whom are young professionals.

The neighbors have received a letter letting them know of a plan to replace nine office buildings within the Von Karman Corporate Center — on the northeast corner of Von Karman and Alton Parkway close to their homes — with a 541,000-square-foot warehouse complex. (That’s about the size of four Costco stores under one roof.)

One of the affected residents who received the letter, Valer Cupsa, told KABC-TV News that the mega-warehouse would drastically change the aesthetics of the neighborhood.

Cupsa said that the office buildings were pretty quiet, “but obviously, a half-million-square-foot warehouse would bring a lot of pollution, a lot of trucks, a lot of noise. … When someone might want to sell their house, if you have trucks coming in and out at all hours of the day, that can’t be good.”

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Proposed Asian American History Museum at the Great Park

The Irvine City Council has given an enthusiastic thumbs-up to the development of an Asian American History Museum (AAHM) in the Great Park.

The proposed museum will be one of the main attractions of the Cultural Terrace West area of the Great Park, adjacent to the existing Sports Complex.

The museum will total some 220,000 square feet — including 94,000 square feet of exhibition space and a 125,000 square-foot sculpture garden and plaza.

It will also feature a 300-seat auditorium, a gift shop and conference rooms, and an Asian Food Hall, which will be added in the second phase.

The AAHM will be privately funded, with no City funding.

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Irvine is Creating a 30-Year “Urban Forest” Master Plan

Irvine is developing a 30-year master plan for its “urban forest.”

The urban forest is made up of all of the trees in the City — including those on private property (both residential and commercial), on public property (streets, medians, parks and other open space areas), and landscaping areas around city facilities like City Hall and community centers.

Some years ago, Vice Mayor Larry Agran and other environmental activists got the City to set a goal to plant 500,000 trees. Today, there are more than 550,000 trees in Irvine.

The City is now considering planting 200,000 more trees to help clean the air, sequester carbon, and cool the City. A survey has been released by the City, asking for residents to offer their input on the urban forest master plan.

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Council Reviews Cost Analysis Report for Veterans Cemetery

The Veterans Cemetery proposed for Gypsum Canyon in Anaheim is estimated to cost some $100 million more than the previously proposed site in Irvine’s Great Park, according to a City review of available public reports on the plans.

In January, Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva and State Senator Tom Umberg released a report from the California Department of General Services estimating the direct costs of the Gypsum Canyon plan at $126 million. In an accompanying press release, Quirk-Silva invited public analysis of the report.

As part of the public analysis, Irvine Vice Mayor Larry Agran asked City staff to review the report and compare it with projected costs for development of the Great Park site, which was approved by the City’s voters in an election in 2018 and again in 2020 by the City Council when the Council adopted a citizen initiative that had garnered some 20,000 Irvine resident signatures.

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