More Recreational Space Will Open Along Santa Ana River

Orange County and Santa Ana officials are taking the final steps in a several-year effort to increase the amount of accessible open space along the Santa Ana River.

Last week, the county Board of Supervisors approved 25-year leases, at no cost, of two small pieces of flood control land, one on each side of the river, to improve access to the banks and give those who use the riverbank trail more park space.

This is all part of a larger plan by Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties to link recreational open space from the beginnings of the river in the hills of San Bernardino to the Pacific Ocean, said Gerardo Moet, Santa Ana parks and recreation director.

Santa Ana’s project, which already has grants to pay for park landscaping, serves the additional purpose of providing more neighborhood open space.

The original 2.29-acre piece of land was leased by the county to the city in 1973, also at no cost, and today is Edna Park, at the eastern end of Edna Drive.

One of the new pieces of property will add 1.64 acres to Edna Park. The other new lease will give the city 28,000 square feet on the opposite side of the river for public access to the Santa Ana River Trail and for increased landscaping.

Moet said the city uses drought-tolerant plans and “plenty of trees” for its rest areas.