Irvine City staff are asking questions about the future of idle portions of a proposed 125-acre veterans’ cemetery – possibly eyeing vacant parcels for commercial development. Veteran leaders are publicly worrying that an expected Tuesday vote to finalize a controversial land swap for the vets cemetery could be in doubt along with key aspects of the deal to bring a state veterans’ cemetery to Irvine.
The Irvine City Council, in a special meeting as soon as Tuesday, is likely to move a proposed veterans cemetery from the heart of the old El Toro Marine Base to a developer-owned strawberry field next to the 5 and 405 freeways.
During a Friday press conference at the Great Park, Gov. Jerry Brown spoke to reporters after touring two competing sites for a veterans' cemetery. While supportive of local decision making, Brown remarked about a site near the I-5 Freeway saying he liked the Strawberry fields. A final decision on the location could be reached by June.
Developer FivePoint Communities has sent the Irvine City Council its general proposal for moving the proposed Orange County veterans cemetery from the city’s Great Park to a site near the interchange of the 5 and 405 freeways.
There are state and federal designations backing a site on the former El Toro Marine Air Base but no clear path to fund the $77 million construction cost. This Tuesday, Irvine City Councilman Jeff Lalloway and Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk Silva jumpstart a stalled debate, advocating a plan to have the city fund more than half.