- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
The Irvine City Council voted on Tuesday to spend $65.5 million over the next three to five years to transform a portion of the old El Toro Marine Corps Air Station into parkland, according to the Los Angeles Times. Orange County's "Great Park" - billed as the first great metropolitan park of the 21st century - is across the street from the UC South Coast Research and Extension Center.
The City of Irvine funds will turn about 225 acres of the base into lawns, exhibition space, sports fields, farmland, citrus groves and a wildlife corridor, among other amenities, the Times story said. Eventually, the Great Park will be the focal point for redevelopment of the former 4,700-acre facility. Expected to be almost twice the size of New York’s Central Park, it will include natural areas and open space in addition to recreational and cultural uses.
The UC Cooperative Extension Orange County Master Gardener program has been actively working with Great Park planners and already offers classes at the Great Park Food and Farm Lab. Classes this fall include “Cool Season Vegetables,” “Gardening in Small Spaces,” “The Busy Gardener,” “Spice up Your Life,” “Grow Your own Herbs,” and “Holiday Crafts from the Garden," said a Great Park news release.
The Orange County Great Park Garden Workshop Series is part of a pilot program designed to introduce community members to the Farm and Food Lab, where they can learn about sustainable home gardening practices for a healthy lifestyle.