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El Toro Base

May 2, 1993
It seems to me that Newport Beach should take up some other hobby than trying to turn the El Toro base into a commercial airport. They state that a commercial airport in Orange County would benefit Orange, Riverside, Ventura, San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties. I fail to see the connection between Orange, Riverside, Ventura, San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties. The billions of dollars Newport Beach claims such a move will generate--"the biggest economic generator since Disneyland"--is absolutely ridiculous.
September 13, 2008 | Tony Barboza, Times Staff Writer
A lawsuit filed Friday alleges that the developer responsible for building homes and businesses on the former El Toro Marine base in Irvine reneged on an agreement to commit 73 acres for a cemetery. Forest Lawn sued various entities of Lennar Corp., saying that executives of the housing giant told it last month that they had "moved on" from a plan to have the cemetery group build and run a memorial park, cemetery and mortuary, in violation of a 2004 written agreement. Since 2004, the suit states, Forest Lawn has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in architectural, design and engineering costs and worked with Lennar to obtain city approvals to build the memorial park.
August 16, 1994
The Times has had front-page articles on the El Toro base land swap proposal by the Irvine Co. At the same time, there is a conspicuous omission in those articles about the question of ground and air pollution on the base as detailed in a number of official reports. It appears to be a consensus that such pollution as exists at El Toro cannot be cleaned up until the year 2010. It is also the contention of Dr. Lee B. Reichman, as president of the American Lung Assn., (in 1992) that 60,000 Americans die prematurely each year from exposure to particles alone.
July 10, 2008 | Tony Barboza, Times Staff Writer
For more than four months Irvine's balloon ride, the lone attraction at the fledgling Orange County Great Park, sat grounded and criticism grew that the project was neither great nor a park. The ride will rise skyward again Saturday, a year after it opened, now with a small ring of green space around it.
March 28, 1993
It is rare indeed that I find myself in agreement with the likes of Bob Dornan. And shocked as well that he would admit in print that he could not counter any argument . . . on the topic of closing our local air corps military bases. I happen to agree that in the interest of our national shift in funding priorities, and for the sake of our local economies, the bases must go. The arguments touted in favor of sustaining them are dwarfed immediately when consideration is given to how the funds we taxpayers have paid over the last quarter of a century to keep the bases open could have been spent on our local infrastructure or a true quality-of-life industrial base.
January 24, 1988
The problem of relocating the John Wayne Airport to a more feasible site (Jan. 17) could be solved by moving the operation to San Diego County on the north end of Camp Pendleton. If that land is now leased for farming purposes, why can it not be used for a much-needed international airport? In the event of a world crisis, the civilian airport could be turned back to the military. In such a plan there would be no homes under the flight path, parking space would be no problem, and passengers could commute by Amtrak from both San Diego and Santa Ana. If a homeless shelter under the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station's flight path was deemed to be within a future "designated accident potential area" by the U.S. Department of Defense, why is this same consideration not given to the residents under the flight path of John Wayne Airport?
July 15, 2007 | Yvonne Villarreal and Tony Barboza, Times Staff Writers
Percy Liles' aged fingers grasped a post for balance as he arched his head back to look at the 75-foot-diameter orange balloon towering over him at the former El Toro Marine base. "Look at that," the 85-year-old retired naval aviator said. "We're in the shadow of the balloon. It's amazing." Saturday marked the inaugural launch of the Great Park Balloon, attended by more than 5,000 people hoping to ride the giant $5-million tethered helium orb.
June 25, 2007 | Tony Barboza, Times Staff Writer
Bill Kogerman used to land his F-8 Crusader fighter jet on the runways of El Toro Marine base when he was stationed there in the 1960s and '70s. These days, the retired Marine lieutenant colonel lives in Laguna Hills and is a member of Orange County's Great Park board of directors. He uses the same runway as a parking spot for his 35-foot, blue and white, dolphin-decaled recreational vehicle. "It's nostalgic, but I did it mostly for the convenience," he said. Kogerman is not alone.
January 26, 2007 | Roy Rivenburg, Times Staff Writer
Orange County's Great Park will begin taking shape this summer with helium balloon rides and the digging of a massive canyon, according to a proposal unveiled Thursday. At a meeting of the park's board of directors at Irvine City Hall, park architect Ken Smith outlined the first two years of his plan for 1,350 acres of the former El Toro Marine Corps base.
August 24, 2005 | Jean O. Pasco, Times Staff Writer
The Orange County Board of Supervisors, which once was split on whether the former El Toro Marine base should be developed as a commercial airport, now wants a hand in governing redevelopment of the base as the Great Park. The board on Tuesday asked that its chairman, Bill Campbell, be appointed to the board of the Orange County Great Park Corp., a quasi-governmental agency overseen by a panel that consists of the five Irvine City Council members and four public members.
July 13, 2005 | Daniel Yi, Times Staff Writer
The closed El Toro Marine base officially became private property Tuesday as Lennar Corp., which won the 3,700-acre former military airfield in an auction in February, closed escrow with the Navy. The nation's third largest home builder also signed a development agreement with the city of Irvine, which annexed the base in 2003 and named its redevelopment plan the Orange County Great Park.
May 17, 2005 | Jean O. Pasco, Times Staff Writer
A former Irvine Co. executive resigned abruptly Friday from the public corporation overseeing redevelopment of the closed El Toro Marine base, saying the Orange County Great Park board suffered from wasteful spending and muddled priorities. Richard G. Sim, instrumental in building the Irvine Spectrum business and shopping complex, spent 18 months on the nine-member board and was the only member with experience in large-scale development.
March 26, 2005
Re "In Vallejo, a Lesson in Converting El Toro," March 21: Yes, indeed, there is a lesson the military can learn from the closing of military bases at Vallejo and El Toro -- don't peddle the property to housing developers. Both properties are highly contaminated from years of spilling toxins on the open ground. We don't need any more Love Canals. Yet the master planner for Vallejo, a housing developer, might want to raid the funds from an El Toro sale in order to clean up Vallejo. The best use for the El Toro airport is an airport.
March 12, 2005 | Daniel Yi, Times Staff Writer
Redevelopment of the closed El Toro Marine base began Friday as officials met to set a rough timetable for the construction of homes, businesses and a vast park on 4,700 acres that Irvine officials have dubbed the Orange County Great Park. The meeting of the Great Park's board of directors was the first since last month's auction of the base by the Navy to homebuilding giant Lennar Corp.
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