Image obtained from the Great Park Facebook page

At their July 27th meeting, the Great Park Board of Directors — consisting of all five Irvine City Councilmembers — voted 4-1 to officially rename the Orange County Great Park. (Councilmember Larry Agran was the sole No vote.)

Known to most people as simply the “Great Park,” Mayor Farrah Khan and Councilmember Mike Carroll are seeking to rename the park the “Irvine Great Park.” The name change would require expensive changes in all official documents, signage, and marketing materials.

For months, Khan and Carroll have been focused on securing corporate City sponsorships. Khan told the Orange County Register, “The city has been seeking corporate or other sponsorship to help offset some of the Great Park’s costs, and some potential sponsors seemed confused as to whether the county owns the park.”

Councilmember Larry Agran — who has been skeptical about corporate sponsorships at the City and about the newly proposed name change — insisted that “before the City commits to what would likely be a multi-million-dollar name change, a thorough staff report should be prepared for City Council and community review.”

Agran added, “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.”

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.
In addition to the current amenities at the Great Park, Wild Rivers Water Park is currently under construction. It is scheduled to open next summer (2022). Also planned for the Great Park are a children’s museum and a Marine Corps aviation museum.