By Jeff Collins
Eight tennis courts are painted, fenced and lighted. Six rectangles of grass are evolving into soccer fields. And the steel-and-concrete stands for a 26,000-square-foot soccer stadium are rising from the ground.
Great Park developer FivePoint Communities gave the media a progress report Tuesday on the 175-acre sports park it’s building for the city of Irvine, saying tennis, soccer and beach volleyball facilities will be completed early next year.
Openly alluding to conflicts during a decade of delays, city and FivePoint officials said they now can point to “significant progress” in bringing the 14-year-old Great Park dream to reality.
“After years of little more than studies and marketing and lots of parties out here and little more being accomplished, we can finally see the scale and breadth of what is being delivered for the use and enjoyment of our residents,” Irvine Councilwoman Christina Shea told a small gathering of reporters and dignitaries at the sports park site.
“This sports complex will be the anchor of what promises to be the heart of Orange County,” she said.
The Great Park and 9,500 new homes are taking shape on the former El Toro Marine base in south Orange County. Lennar Homes and its partners bought the 3,700-acre base in 2005, donated 1,347 acres to Irvine for the park and – through its spinoff, FivePoint – began building homes around the future parkland boundaries.