Resolved: Let’s move forward with the Cultural Terrace
Which is why we urge the city of Irvine city council, staff, commissions, committees and all involved in positions of influence, public and private, to make one resolution for the New Year: make concrete decisions and take significant and tangible steps to move the Cultural Terrace segment of the Orange County Great Park forward.
Anyone who has made resolutions knows what the enemies are to keeping them: They include dueling issues of never getting started (procrastination) and trying to do too much at once.
It’s the same with our community-wide commitment to make progress at the Great Park.
Procrastination is always a fine way to push a task off into the future, or leave it to someone else to worry about. That’s what previous city councils have done, even if it wasn’t their intention.
A 254-page feasibility study finished Dec. 10, 2010 at a cost of $230,000 said that the Cultural Terrace would be “the social, cultural, artistic and educational core of the Orange County Great Park.” Included in that study was an amphitheater, library, performing arts center, arts and culture center, life science center and the Museum of Heritage and Aviation – some of which had their own individual feasibility studies.
Fast-forward to Oct. 2015, and an OC Register story summarizes all the progress made in planning the Cultural Terrace over half a decade: “When city council members visualize the Great Park’s future Cultural Terrace, they picture museums, a library, an amphitheater and a lake.”
It sounds as if the basic outline of what should be in the Cultural Terrace hasn’t changed that much. But now there are suggestions that additional studies are necessary.
Wasting months and money on more studies and surveys to see what we really, really want in the Cultural Terrace isn’t just procrastination at this point, it’s dereliction of civic duty.
Trying to do too much at once via multiple unrealistic resolutions is just as deadly as never getting started on a single one. That’s what has been happening as we try to plan every element at the Cultural Terrace at once: by trying to figure out everything we want there, nothing much has been getting done. So let’s start with the easy ones first, and move forward.
Building a live music amphitheater on the Cultural Terrace has been part of the plan pretty much since day one.
A new amphitheater was the subject of a feasibility study finished in Dec. 12, 2010. Funded in part by Live Nation, the concert promoter and venue owner, the study stated that, “The Amphitheater will support the Great Park’s role as a hub for human well-being; encourage social interaction and public engagement; promote diversity; and bring people together through shared experiences in public spaces.”
The final season at Irvine Meadows solidified the wide demand throughout Southern California for a new live music venue. It also inspired the idea for an interim facility while the permanent one is being built on the Cultural Terrace: FivePoint and Live Nation have offered to build a 12,000-seat outdoor amphitheater adjacent to the Orange County Great Park in time for the 2017 summer music season. FivePoint would provide the land, while Live Nation will design, construct and operate the facility and adjacent parking.
Let’s put procrastination in the past. The new mayor and city council can prove that their commitment to collegiality and professionalism in working together, especially when it comes to progress at the Orange County Great Park, wasn’t just election-year rhetoric. The first step is obvious: move forward on the amphitheater. We have additional opinions of the matter of the Cultural Terrace, of course, including who should be put in charge of building it. But we’ll get to that in future issues.