The City of Irvine, Calif. will consider renaming Orange County Great Park to Irvine Great Park during its July 13 council meeting to better establish Irvine’s jurisdiction over the land.
Councilmember Anthony Kuo said the name sometimes confuses people in Orange County, who believe they should have a say in how the park is developed and managed.
“Here we are in the City of Irvine, paying all the bills for it, and occasionally we get folks from other parts of the county, sometimes elected, sometimes not, who say, ‘I’m from such-and-such city, how come I can’t have a say on the Great Park? Why don’t we have representation?’ And it really goes back to, who’s paying the bills? The City of Irvine is paying the bills, and that’s why we get a say on what’s at the park,” Kuo told The Epoch Times.
“From what I gleaned from the memo, there’s an effort to kind of separate ourselves in that when you call it the Orange County Great Park, there sometimes is the assumption that Orange County runs the park.”
The park was formerly the site of the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station from 1943 to 1999 and was later transferred to Orange County’s jurisdiction. In 2001, Orange County voters passed Measure W, authorizing the former air station to be used as a park, which is how it received its current name.
In 2003, the unincorporated county land was annexed to the City of Irvine, which has maintained jurisdiction since, although the name was never changed.
A supplemental item on the agenda, brought forth by Mayor Farrah Khan and Councilmember Mike Carroll, says: “The City of Irvine municipal park known as the ‘Orange County Great Park’ is a city municipal park that is situated solely within the legal boundaries of the City of Irvine, California. It is not a park administered by Orange County. Indeed, the County of Orange government has no jurisdiction whatsoever over the City of Irvine municipal park currently titled ‘Orange County Great Park.’”
Some have argued that the Orange County Great Park Corporation, a non-profit board of directors that oversees the property, should be the official ones to decide at their meetings about the name change.
Kuo said he did not necessarily disagree with this proposition. Although, he noted that it would not make a difference considering the board consists of all five Irvine city council members.
“I don’t disagree with that perspective,” Kuo said. “However, it’s kind of a substance over form issue, because the five members of the Great Park Board are in fact the Irvine city council. So, should this have been put before the board? Probably. But at the end of the day, it’s basically asking the five city council members to take their city council hat off, put the Great Park board hat on and make the same decision ultimately.”