At the July 27th meeting, the Great Park Board of Directors — consisting of all five Irvine City Councilmembers — voted 4-1 to rename the 15-year-old Orange County Great Park. (Councilmember Larry Agran was the only NO vote.)
Already known to most people simply as the “Great Park,” Mayor Farrah Khan and Councilmembers Tammy Kim, Anthony Kuo and Mike Carroll voted to strip away the words “Orange County” and rename the park the “Irvine Great Park” or the “Great Park in Irvine.” The name change could cost taxpayers upwards of a million dollars — to change all of the official documents, signage, and marketing materials.
This move comes just two months after Khan, Kim, and Carroll voted to double their personal office budgets and remove nearly all safeguards on how they spend that money. The budget increase was adopted during the May 25th City Council meeting. At that meeting, Kim indicated the budget increase would be paid through the Great Park’s corporate sponsorship program.
The sponsorship program was created last year, but no sponsorship deals have been approved yet. That means taxpayers may be on the hook for the Council’s nearly half-a-million dollar personal budget increase … in addition to costs associated with the Great Park name change.
Councilmember Agran — who voted against the Council’s personal budget increase, and has been skeptical about corporate sponsorships and the name change — insisted that “before the City commits to what would likely end up being a multi-million-dollar taxpayer-funded Great Park name change, a thorough staff report should be prepared for City Council and community review.”
Agran added, “We should hear from the community before we move forward. Making this kind of change in the Great Park branding just to please potential corporate sponsors isn’t my idea of good planning or good policy. Squandering millions of taxpayer money on a name change seems fiscally irresponsible, especially since the Great Park will always be known to most people as simply that … the Great Park.”
What Do YOU Think?
Do you agree or disagree with the City Council’s decision to spend taxpayer funds to rename the Great Park?Click here to take the Irvine Community Poll.
If you haven’t visited the 1,300 acre Great Park, here’s what you are missing:
- Great Park Sports Complex: Includes a 2,500-seat professional soccer stadium and a 2,500-seat ice hockey rink for ice skating classes, adult hockey leagues, and the practice facility for the Anaheim Ducks. There are also 24 soccer fields, 5 sand volleyball courts, 4 basketball courts, 25 tennis courts, and 12 softball & baseball fields.
- Palm Court Arts Complex: Home to the Great Park Gallery and the Great Park Artist Studio. There are ongoing art exhibitions which are free and open to the public, along with a wide variety of free art classes for all ages. In addition, historically preserved Hangar 244 is a 10,000-square-foot event center.
- Great Park Trails: This beautiful 1.5-mile pedestrian/bicycle trail takes you through the Upper Bee and Bosque area. For a trail map, click here.
- Visitors Center: Open daily from 8am until 10pm. In addition to picking up park maps and finding information on upcoming concerts, sporting events, art exhibitions, and free community events, you can rent sports equipment and grab a snack at the Runway Cafe.
- Great Park Balloon: Open Thursday through Sunday, this free ride allows guests to soar 400 feet, with 360° views of the City and surrounding area.
- Certified Farmers Market: Open 10am until 2pm on Sunday, the farmers market features fresh produce from local farms.
- Farm + Food Lab: Open 10am until 3pm Tuesday thru Sunday. University of California Continuing Education Master Gardeners of Orange County offer free outdoor gardening classes to all ages. The farm also grows and donates fresh produce to local food banks.
- Movies on the Lawn: Every summer, residents are invited to watch a series of free family-friendly films that are screened on Saturday evenings at sunset on the Terraced Lawn at the Great Park.
- Children’s Play Areas: There are several themed playgrounds throughout the park, some of which educate young guests while they play.