Let’s get straight to the point. Orange County’s Great Park hasn’t quite measured up to it’s name yet. I would be more inclined to call it “Really Ambitious Park” or “Soon To Be A Great Park As Soon As Lerner Homes Honors Its Commitment Park”.
What is Great Park? Once upon a time, Orange County was home to El Toro Marine Base. Then, the Cold War ended. Since we would no longer have enemies, there was no need for the Marines to safeguard Irvine. And so somewhere in the early nineties, it closed.
But what does one do with an airbase? Some suggested turning it into an international airport and alleviate some of the commotion over at John Wayne. But then all of the attorneys that live in the area threw out a card known as “not in my backyard” and killed the idea.
The solution to the problem was to annex the land and build a park on par with Golden Gate or Central. And so the county of Orange gave birth to the Great Park. The park is currently in it infancy. There is a play area with sports fields set to open soon. You can go to the visitors’ center and ride in the balloon. Other than that, it’s largely what one would expect to see in an abandoned base in the process of being converted to a park.
Now, don’t mistake Animated Meat for a cynical publication. I would just like to prep anyone planning a visit that the park is still far from great. However, I have every hope that this becomes an example of what happens when we beat our swords into ploughshares.