By Tomoya Shimura
IRVINE — The Orange County Great Park, which some mockingly have called “not-so-great park” for its limited amenities, will soon get a huge boost.
The city on Aug. 5 will host a grand opening of the first phase of the 194-acre Great Park Sports Park. The public will be able to enjoy activities at new facilities including a 2,506-seat soccer stadium (with berm seating for additional 2,500 spectators), six soccer fields, 25 tennis courts and five sand volleyball courts on 53 acres opening that day.
Watch the aerial view video of the latest Great Park development.
When completed, the sports park will also feature six additional soccer fields, 12 baseball and softball fields and lawn areas large enough to accommodate five more soccer fields.
The sports park is the first major facility to open at the Great Park since a newly elected City Council in 2013 decided to change the course of the park development.
Councilwoman Christina Shea said the Aug. 5 opening marks the beginning of many more features that will come to the Great Park in the next few years.
“It’s a big park,” Shea said. “It takes time to grow. … Now that all that infrastructure is in there, we are starting to see the fruit of the development.”
The city has so far developed 200 acres of the land. Amenities include the Great Park balloon, a carousel, visitor center, kids rock play area, walkable historical timeline, a Hangar 244 event center, an arts complex, horticulture area and sports fields.
The 1,300-acre former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro site owned by the city could match the size of San Diego’s Balboa Park when fully developed.
The new sports park is part of the 713 acres developer FivePoint is building for the city in exchange for approval to build more than 4,600 homes adjacent to the park. That portion will also include an 18-hole golf course, trails, agricultural fields, playgrounds, open space and a wildlife corridor.