Great Park Funding Remains in Limbo

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It appears the future of $1.4-billion in funding for the Orange County Great Park remains in limbo.

A spokesman with the state Department of Finance said he had been given erroneous information last week when he told Voice of OC that Irvine’s request for the property tax funding would likely be approved.

H.D. Palmer, the spokesman, said that state finance department officials inserted information on Irvine’s spreadsheet that was meant for another city.

Palmer apologized for the error.

“Those comments that I relayed did not apply to Irvine,” Palmer said.

The entire 1,300-acre park, the vast majority of which has yet to be built, was in a redevelopment zone, and it had long been assumed that its construction would be financed by increased property tax revenue from an adjacent 5,000-home development.

Irvine’s claim to the revenue was threatened when the state killed redevelopment last year. But city officials argued that it is entitled to the tax revenue because an agreement signed with Heritage Fields El Toro, the home developer, requires the city to build the park.

The city had submitted its claim to the revenue, known as a recognized obligation payment schedule, but the state rejected the claim last month based on technicalities involving how the schedule was filled out.

Finance Department officials now say they have no comment regarding the likelihood of Irvine receiving the funding.

“We haven’t received the revised [schedule], so there’s nothing to comment on,” Palmer said.

— ADAM ELMAHREK

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