By Editorial Board
The Irvine City Council made the right call last week when it voted 3-2 to go with developer FivePoint’s proposal for a veterans cemetery that offers the best chance for properly honoring our nation’s veterans.
Or, as Peter Katz, an Army veteran and member of the Orange County Memorial Park Committee, told the council, “The costs are cheaper. The access is easier.”
The FivePoint proposal, for which the company has volunteered to fund the first phase, is spread across as much as 125 acres, fittingly straddles Marine Way and contains a host of proposed amenities for honoring our fallen men and women in uniform. The site would include a veterans memorial on the side facing the I-5 freeway. Its proximity to the freeway allows ease of access for visitors and a solemn reminder of the price of freedom to those passing by.
The previous site was controversial because of its proximity to homes. This alternative site has the support of both residents and the veterans group formed to push for a cemetery.
It makes better financial sense, too. The state announced late last month that it would only contribute $30 million for the project at the other site, leaving Irvine residents to cover a $50 million difference.
“The Irvine council’s decision is a win-win-win for the city at large, our communities and, most importantly, our veterans who deserve a special place to honor their own that is worthy of the service they have given this country,” Emile Haddad, chairman and CEO of FivePoint, said in a statement.
But critics have pointed to unknowns in the plan, and repeated the tired notion that the council is “giving away” the Great Park.