July 12, 2012 at 18:40 PM EDT
State of the Great Park 2012: Innovating, Activating and Celebrating the Great Park
New Community Health Partnership with Kaiser Permanente Announced

IRVINE, Calif., July 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Orange County Great Park Corporation Chair Beth Krom today delivered the State of the Great Park 2012 address, providing a comprehensive look at the Great Park's development, programming and future. Chair Krom pledged that the development and programs of the Great Park would continue to move forward in the face of a sluggish economy and the potential loss of redevelopment funds. 

"The aspirational vision that has driven the development of the Great Park over the past seven years has not changed. Our commitment to develop a world-class metropolitan park has not wavered," said Chair Krom. "Ultimately, we must proceed through this period of uncertainty remaining true to a vision for a Great Park that reflects our highest aspirations. I'm pleased to report that we are doing just that."

New Community Health Partnership with Kaiser Permanente
Chair Krom also announced a new community health partnership with Kaiser Permanente.

"Included in the South Lawn project will be a mile-long jogging and hiking trail, to be known as the Thrive Trail. It's my pleasure to announce today that Kaiser Permanente has pledged significant support to help us create an innovative, interpretive health and wellness trail. We are very excited to have Kaiser Permanente join with us in this long-term partnership. The Thrive Trail expands upon our commitment to providing opportunities to advance health and wellness at the park."

The Thrive Trail will be built as part of a 30-acre expansion of the Great Park, which will begin construction following the Great Park's Anniversary event on July 14.

Other highlights of Chair Krom's annual address included:

One-Year Anniversary of the North Lawn and Palm Court Arts Complex
"Last year, we opened two new features: the expansive North Lawn and the Palm Court Arts Complex. The North Lawn has become one of our most active features, hosting weekly sports clinics, athletic events, kite flying and more. It's the kind of space that spurs people of all ages to get out and move."

"Since the opening of the Palm Court Arts Complex, our enhanced arts programming has provided Great Park visitors unique opportunities to enjoy the arts in a setting unlike any other in Orange County. We launched an innovative Artist-In-Residence program and conducted our inaugural year of gallery exhibitions at the Great Park Gallery. Through our collaboration with Arts Orange County, the Palm Court hosted a series of Arts Happenings."

Solar Decathlon 2013
"The Great Park is like a giant classroom: a place to learn history or gardening, to experience culture, do yoga, enjoy an educational film, and share ideas. That's why the U.S. Department of Energy selected the Orange County Great Park as the site of the 2013 Solar Decathlon. Founded in 2002, the Solar Decathlon is a ten-day biennial event that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors and worldwide media attention. This will be the first time this internationally acclaimed event will be hosted outside Washington D.C."

Potential Loss of Redevelopment Funds
"The actions of the state Legislature mean that an anticipated stream of funding intended for the ongoing construction and activation of the park may not come. Note that I say "may not" instead of "will not." The City of Irvine continues to pursue a legal course to defend its interests. Irvine's position has been affirmed by an appointed oversight board, which include such distinguished members as Lucy Dunn, the former Director of the California Department of Housing and Community Development and the current President and CEO of the Orange County Business Council and former State Senator Marian Bergson, the current Chair of the Foundation for the Great Park."

Chair Krom concluded her address with an inspirational quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."

For a full video replay of the State of the Park 2012 speech, please click here.

For more information, go to www.ocgp.org.

About the Orange County Great Park
Hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over Southern California enjoy the Orange County Great Park's current array of recreational and educational opportunities, including views from the iconic Great Park Balloon that rises 400 feet in the air and provides a panoramic view of Orange County.  Other Great Park features include the Carousel, Farm + Food Lab, Kids Rock Playground, Walkable Historical Timeline, Palm Court Arts Complex, North Lawn recreation area and historic Hangar 244.  The Great Park also hosts a variety of special events that provide unique experiences for the entire family, including the Growing the Park Anniversary Celebration, annual Pumpkin Harvest, Great Night! Family New Year's Eve, Flights & Sounds Summer Festival and the weekly Great Park Farmers Market. The Great Park, with its approximately 1,300-acre master plan, is the centerpiece of the redevelopment of the publicly-owned portion of the 4,700-acre former Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro. For more information, please visit www.ocgp.org.

SOURCE Orange County Great Park

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