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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 16, 2012 | By Jeff Gottlieb, Los Angeles Times
Irvine leaders are planning a detailed review of the $200 million spent on what has been billed as the country's next great urban park, one that is supposed to rival New York's Central Park with a majestic man-made canyon, rivers, forests and botanical gardens. Despite the spending, only a sliver of the park has been built, and most of the Marine base land remains fenced off. Park funds are expected to be exhausted next year. With a new majority taking over the council next month, city leaders indicated that they want to take a closer look at the decade-long effort to build the municipal park.
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SPORTS
February 19, 2014 | By Bill Shaikin
Is it Anaheim or Tustin for the Angels? The mayor of Tustin does not believe that. It has been only a week since Angels owner Arte Moreno met with Tustin officials about the possibility of moving his team there, and yet Tustin Mayor Al Murray said late Tuesday he had heard that Moreno had talked with the city of Irvine as well. There have been no discussions between the Angels and Irvine, representatives for both sides said Wednesday. "The Angels have not met with the city of Irvine at this time," Angels spokeswoman Marie Garvey said.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 25, 2014 | By Adolfo Flores and Samantha Schaefer
On the heels of preliminary findings in an audit of the Great Park that raised questions about the $200-million project's finances, Irvine may start issuing subpoenas to get some answers. The City Council is set to vote on a resolution Tuesday that would allow its attorneys to subpoena people and documents to help auditors continue their review - at a cost of $400,000. During the course of their investigation, auditors said that they were “precluded from further analysis” and that several key players refused to speak with them.
OPINION
January 30, 2014
Re "Clean bill for old air base," Jan. 28 Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, my old stomping grounds in the 1960s, is now, for the most part, cleaned up and off the federal Superfund list. This is a wonderful thing, and the eventual development of Orange County's Great Park will be a most welcome addition. But it is worrisome that a developer has the right to construct 9,500 homes nearby when our reservoirs are going dry. Where will the water come from to support this new development?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 15, 2010 | By Tony Barboza
More than 100,000 people have ascended skyward in Irvine's balloon ride to savor aerial views of Orange County, take panoramic photographs and even make the occasional marriage proposal. But imagine the shock the pilot of the Great Park balloon must have felt just before 9 p.m. Sunday when, high above the ground, the gondola shook and a young man parachuted out. The orange-hued helium balloon had ascended to a height of 330 feet when one of the 12 passengers climbed up and out of the netting enclosing the gondola, unfurled a hidden parachute, threw it ahead of him and jumped out, said Irvine city spokesman Craig Reem.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 22, 2013 | By Paloma Esquivel
On a barren stretch of road on the edge of Irvine, a tasteful brown sign topped with a whimsical orange bicycle announces that a long-anticipated addition to the city is finally underway: the thousands of elegant new homes around the perimeter of the city's planned Great Park. The park itself will also soon grow, now that a plan to build 688 acres has been approved. And a long-awaited high school nearby is expected to open in 2016. Just down the road, another long-stalled project is also finally underway - the addition of hundreds of jail beds to a county lockup once so rustic it was known as "The Farm.
NEWS
October 30, 2012 | By Beth Krom
In its Oct. 27 article, " Orange County's planned Great Park a victim of hard times ," The Times paints a misleading picture by neglecting to provide adequate history and context. The truth is the Great Park in Irvine is not just moving forward. We are heading into our best year yet. Consider that the next year will see the addition of four tournament-quality soccer fields, a new visitors center, community gardens and our first water features. This will build upon the existing 200 acres of space regularly programmed with free public activities.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 31, 2013 | By Rick Rojas, Los Angeles Times
For the former Marine base long envisioned as a sprawling metropolitan park, Irvine officials say they're hopeful one upcoming event could help the Great Park live up to its name. The Solar Decathlon, a nationwide competition in which college students build environmentally friendly houses, will move in October from a Washington, D.C., greenbelt to the Great Park, drawing hundreds of entrants and even more visitors - filling hotel rooms, creating jobs and, perhaps more important, bringing prestige to the park.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 27, 2013 | By Anh Do
A developer will be allowed to build a scaled-down version of Great Park in exchange for the right to construct thousands of homes in a deal that would appear to extinguish Irvine's long-running promise to give residents a municipal green space rivaling Balboa Park or even New York City's Central Park. In a split vote, City Council members cleared the way early Wednesday for FivePoint Communities to build an extra 4,606 homes in the south Orange County city in return for constructing 688 acres of Great Park.
OPINION
April 16, 2008
Re "Irvine's Great Park hasn't exactly earned its name," April 12 I read with a great deal of shock your story about the lack of progress on the Great Park at El Toro Marine base. I was shocked that anyone really believed that the park would happen in the first place. I also was shocked that the shortsighted attitude of the people in south Orange County deprived us of a badly needed international airport. We can look forward to years of idle property and further hopeless congestion in airports throughout Southern California.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 30, 2014 | By Paloma Esquivel
Civic leaders in Irvine have authorized the use of subpoenas to help auditors delve deeper into an investigation of the financial management of the Orange County Great Park. The City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday to move forward with a forensic audit after a preliminary report raised questions about spending, contracts and oversight of the 1,300-park, which has been in the works for more than a decade. Council members Larry Agran and Beth Krom, who helped steward the project from its beginnings until they lost the council majority in the city's 2012 elections, denounced the  decision, which Krom called a “witch hunt.” Great Park: where did all the money go?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 30, 2014 | By Paloma Esquivel
Civic leaders in Irvine have authorized the use of subpoenas to help auditors dig deeper into an investigation of the financial management of the Orange County Great Park. The City Council voted 3 to 2 this week to move forward with a forensic audit after a preliminary report raised questions about spending, contracts and oversight of the planned 1,300-acre park, which has been in the works for more than a decade. Council members Larry Agran and Beth Krom, who helped steward the project from its beginnings until they lost the council majority in the 2012 city election, denounced the decision, which Krom called a "witch hunt.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 27, 2014 | By Tony Barboza
More than 1,900 acres of the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in Irvine have been cleaned up and removed from the list of the nation's most hazardous sites after more than two decades, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday. Officials say $165 million in soil removal and groundwater treatment by the U.S. Navy and local water agencies has cleaned up contamination at much of the old World War II-era air base, to the point that it no longer poses a risk to human health or the environment.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 25, 2014 | By Adolfo Flores and Samantha Schaefer
On the heels of preliminary findings in an audit of the Great Park that raised questions about the $200-million project's finances, Irvine may start issuing subpoenas to get some answers. The City Council is set to vote on a resolution Tuesday that would allow its attorneys to subpoena people and documents to help auditors continue their review - at a cost of $400,000. During the course of their investigation, auditors said that they were “precluded from further analysis” and that several key players refused to speak with them.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 13, 2014 | By Samantha Schaefer
Preliminary findings of an audit of the Great Park showed irregularities and raises questions about the financial and structural management of the $200-million project. Among other things, the review concludes that some contractors who were awarded low-bid contracts ultimately billed the city far more than originally estimated, in most cases because of change orders approved by the Irvine City Council. The contractor that won the right to construct a preview park, for instance, ended up billing the city five times its original bid. In some instances, services were paid for twice, and some work done by a public relations consultant for individual council members was billed to the park, the report says.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 22, 2013 | By Paloma Esquivel
On a barren stretch of road on the edge of Irvine, a tasteful brown sign topped with a whimsical orange bicycle announces that a long-anticipated addition to the city is finally underway: the thousands of elegant new homes around the perimeter of the city's planned Great Park. The park itself will also soon grow, now that a plan to build 688 acres has been approved. And a long-awaited high school nearby is expected to open in 2016. Just down the road, another long-stalled project is also finally underway - the addition of hundreds of jail beds to a county lockup once so rustic it was known as "The Farm.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 31, 2012 | By Jeff Gottlieb, Los Angeles Times
The grand park that officials had promised would be built on a retired Marine base in the heart of Orange County was in jeopardy Wednesday after state officials ruled that $1.4 billion in property funds can't be spent to transform the sprawling stretch of land into what had been billed as America's next great urban park. The funds make up much of the money that was to be tapped to turn the old base into urban parkland that would feature a rugged man-made canyon, lakes, orchards, meandering pathways and dozens of athletic fields.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 10, 2013 | By Mike Anton and Rhea Mahbubani, Los Angeles Times
Capping a raucous eight-hour-plus meeting, the Irvine City Council early Wednesday voted to overhaul the oversight and spending on the beleaguered Orange County Great Park while authorizing an audit of the more than $220 million that so far has been spent on the ambitious project. A newly elected City Council majority voted 3 to 2 to terminate contracts with two firms that had been paid a combined $1.1 million a year for consulting, lobbying, marketing and public relations. One of those firms - Forde & Mollrich public relations - has been paid $12.4 million since county voters approved the Great Park plan in 2002.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 27, 2013 | By Anh Do
A developer will be allowed to build a scaled-down version of Great Park in exchange for the right to construct thousands of homes in a deal that would appear to extinguish Irvine's long-running promise to give residents a municipal green space rivaling Balboa Park or even New York City's Central Park. In a split vote, City Council members cleared the way early Wednesday for FivePoint Communities to build an extra 4,606 homes in the south Orange County city in return for constructing 688 acres of Great Park.
OPINION
November 20, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
The idea was splendid: Turn the flat, featureless Marine Corps Air Station El Toro into a vast, bucolic landscape of forests, lawns, a man-made canyon and lake, alongside sports fields, botanical gardens and museums. There would be something for everyone, an oasis of nature surrounded by suburbia and also a center to gather for concerts and museums. It was to be the Great Park, Orange County's answer to Balboa Park in San Diego and twice as big as New York's Central Park. But more than a decade later, about 230 acres of the 1,347-acre parcel are in use, and nearly half of that is leased for commercial farming.
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