Irvine Mayor Donald P. Wagner released the following statement concerning action taken by the City Council on July 10 regarding the advancement of a Veterans Cemetery in Irvine.
“In response to Irvine voters’ recent decision rejecting the location of a veterans cemetery at the Strawberry Fields site, the City Council has directed the immediate start of a citywide effort to evaluate the ARDA site or find an alternate site in or near the Great Park for creation of the cemetery.
“The Council’s decision was in keeping with Irvine’s commitment to foresight and diligent planning. Irvine, of course, was built on a Master Plan; unfortunately, prior Councils abandoned the principles of that Master Plan, burdening us with increased traffic and overdevelopment. But this Council has refused to continue those mistakes of the past. That is why a majority of the Council and I asked that the Transportation, Planning, and Finance Commissions, as well as the Planning Department and new City Manager, begin work promptly to identify and properly plan for the creation of the cemetery. This will be a comprehensive City effort to do the project right.
“I also pledged at the last City Council meeting to continue my work with the Veterans Administration in Washington, D.C., and with my former colleagues in Sacramento in the State Legislature to respect the voters’ will by changing the approved location of the cemetery away from the Strawberry Fields and to get for the City the necessary full state funding – which so far has never been provided – to complete this project in a quick and fiscally responsible manner.
“We owe a great debt to those who serve in our nations’ military. A dignified final resting place here in Orange County appropriately respects their sacrifices. With the Council’s decisive action to implement the will of the voters, we have re-affirmed our commitment to the proper planning and creation of that veterans cemetery.”
Since its incorporation in 1971, Irvine has become a nationally recognized city, with a population of 276,176 that spans 66 square miles and is recognized as one of America’s safest and most successful master-planned urban communities. Top-rated educational institutions, an enterprising business atmosphere, sound environmental stewardship, and respect for diversity all contribute to Irvine’s enviable quality of life. This family-friendly city features more than 16,000 acres of parks, sports fields and dedicated open space and is the home of the Orange County Great Park. For more information, please visit cityofirvine.org.