Last Updated Projects in Park Amenities
Water polo, indoor volleyball/basketball, and parking in the Western Sector of the Great Park
The Great Park Board and City Council have long-envisioned state-of-the-art Olympic- class water polo and indoor volleyball/basketball facilities in the Western Sector of the Orange County Great Park. Both facilities meet the needs of Irvine’s vibrant sports communities, and will expand the scope of recreational opportunities at the Great Park. The “fieldhouse” will serve local needs for indoor recreation, while also hosting regional and super-regional tournaments and events. The water polo facility will provide an additional dedicated pool for City use, meeting the significant demand for pool time stemming from Irvine’s swimming community, and serve as a regional and super-regional site for competitions. The water polo and indoor volleyball/basketball facilities are planned for construction adjacent one another, and near the planned parking structure.
Home At Last: Honoring Our Veterans With A Veterans Cemetery In Orange County
At present, Orange County is the most populous county in the state without a veterans cemetery, with approximately 115,000 veterans in residence. Five years have elapsed since discussions began to open a State Veterans Administration Cemetery in Orange County. The closest cemetery for veterans, with space available, is Riverside National Cemetery. There is a growing interest in, and demand for, an Orange County veterans cemetery. Veterans groups and other Orange County residents have become frustrated that progress towards opening a veterans cemetery in Orange County has been hindered by political infighting. The continued lack of progress in the negotiation between the relevant entities and a lack of general understanding of the underlying issues by Orange County residents, prompted the 2018- 2019 Orange County Grand Jury (Grand Jury) to conduct an investigation to gather information for the benefit of Orange County residents.
Re-Opening Irvine Lake: A Win-Win for Taxpayers and Outdoor Enthusiasts
Irvine Lake is the largest fresh water body in Orange County. Since 1941, the lake has provided the residents of Orange County with a unique opportunity for a variety of recreational activities. In 2014, The Irvine Company made public its intention to transfer certain land parcels it owned surrounding Irvine Lake to Orange County in perpetuity for the benefit of its residents. The land transfer triggered a series of negotiations among, primarily, Orange County Parks, Serrano Water District and Irvine Ranch Water District, seeking agreements on certain matters to move the action forward. Those negotiations stalled and in March 2016, Irvine Lake was closed to the public for fishing, boating and other water recreation. This closure has and continues to result in lost revenues for Orange County taxpayers in addition to lost recreation for its residents. The three public agencies involved in the future operations of Irvine Lake have not announced a plan for its reopening for recreation use since its closure in 2016. Without sufficient historical financial information from SWD, OC Parks cannot project future financial opportunities at Irvine Lake. Minimal effort to engage one another, a lack of creative proposals and slow responsiveness between OC Parks and the water districts have allowed negotiations to stall. Although not a party to any recreation rights, IRWD does have a right of approval over decisions affecting water use rights and water quality. Therefore, settling easement rights issues in a successor document to the 2003 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among SWD, IRWD and TIC is required prior to concluding negotiations on recreation rights. Parties expect to complete this in the first half of 2019. A master plan for recreational activities remains to be developed.
Miami Freedom Park Soccer Development
A day after Miami voters opened the door for the city to negotiate a deal to build a soccer stadium and commercial complex for David Beckham’s Major League Soccer team, negotiations have been blocked because of an ethics complaint over improper lobbying by the team’s owners. In his complaint filed with the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust, attorney David Winker claimed that team owners failed to register as lobbyists before urging commissioners to place their plan on the November ballot. Winker said principals of the team, including Beckham and brothers Jorge and Jose Mas, failed to register as lobbyists for the business entity that would negotiate a lease with the city, Miami Freedom Park LLC. Beckham and the Mas brothers are registered to lobby for a different company, Miami Beckham United, LLC. Beckham plans to transform a city-owned golf course into Miami Freedom Park, a massive stadium and commercial complex. Now the ownership group has permission to negotiate a lease of city land next to Miami International Airport, currently home to Melreese golf course, for a 73-acre redevelopment that would include a 25,000-seat stadium, at least 750 hotel rooms and at least 1 million square feet of office, retail and commercial space. Owners also agreed to fund a 58-acre public park next to the complex. After running through multiple possible sites over the years, including land in Overtown that ownership purchased, Melreese became the top choice after Jorge Mas argued a stadium needed surrounding development to be profitable. When the Mas brothers joined, the league gave Miami a team and a deadline — building permits for a stadium by November 2019. Since Melreese was considered as a location for the stadium, the concept stirred controversy and sparked multiple lawsuits. Critics framed the proposal as a lucrative land grab dressed up as a necessary project to give MLS a home in Miami. They defended the value of Melreese, particularly a youth golf and mentoring program housed there called First Tee Miami, and blasted the rushed process that led to the referendum. When commissioners voted to place the question on the November ballot after only days of considering preliminary lease terms, several questions remained unanswered. Among them: The true cost of cleaning up toxic soil underneath Melreese, dirt contaminated with ash from an old municipal incinerator. Those questions will remain as the city officials and team owners begin lease negotiations. The lease still needs approval from four of five city commissioners — which might be a long shot, given strong opposition from at least two commissioners. In July, Gort and Commissioner Manolo Reyes voted against placing the referendum on the ballot. On Monday, they both told the Herald they had not been swayed and they hoped the referendum would fail.
Inter Miami MLS Soccer Project
David Beckham's MLS ownership group has taken so long to produce the plans for a Miami soccer stadium, according to the Miami Herald, that it now appears the measure couldn't be voted on before November. Neither the original proposed 9-acre property purchased in Overtown in 2016, nor current discussions to redevelop part of the Melreese golf course next to Miami International Airport, appear anywhere close to fruition.
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