ORANGE COUNTY — The largest urban park in Orange County would curl around the eastern edge of El Toro Marine Base with two 18-hole public golf courses, an aviation museum, ball fields and an equestrian center, according to designs released Thursday.
Dubbed Veterans Regional Park, the 770-acre greenbelt replaces plans for an 800-acre business and industrial park, dropped from consideration a year ago by county officials planning the reuse of the 4,700-acre Marine Corps Air Station.
If approved in December as part of the county's overall plan for El Toro, the new park would supplant 640-acre Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley as Orange County's largest urban recreation area.
Keeping the base more or less in its natural state would reduce expected traffic levels and move commercial development into surrounding cities, said Richard Ramella, president of the Planning Center, which prepared the park design.
Some city officials near El Toro had been critical of the earlier commercial complex plan because it would have created competing business parks and other commercial uses on the land, which eventually will be deeded to the county. That would have robbed cities near the new airport of potential revenue.