One Step Towards Orange County's Great Park

The Orange Country Great Park has received the official go-ahead, with a dedication of $65 million for the first phase of construction.

Though the full park will eventually become a 1,347-acre public space, the first phase of construction will take up just 200 acres, and is expected to complete in 2011.

"'While $65 million is a lot of money, it's a small piece of the billion or billion-and-a-half dollar project,' said Ken Smith, the landscape architect who leads the Great Park Design Studio. 'So the issue we've been struggling with is, do you build a smaller area to full detail and amenity, or do you try to stretch the money out over a large area with less detail?'

In the end, designers opted for a compromise targeting 200 acres, fewer than initially planned, but with more robust amenities. Set for completion by 2011, the new construction capitalizes on the success of the 27.5-acre 'preview park,' opened in 2008 and known for its popular observation balloon. Among the new elements are a series of sports fields along a nine-acre 'walkable timeline'-a corridor featuring shade structures, seating, and a system of historical markers-as well as a palm-tree grove flanking a renovated hangar that can be used for exhibitions and special events."

Full Story: Great Expectations

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