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Great Park officials approve $5.4 million savings, reallocation of funds

The destination's board also moves forward on Fire Museum plan.

BY KRISTEN SCHOTTPublished: June 21, 2010 09:03 AM

Construction at the Orange County Great Park is getting a boost, thanks to a $5.4 million savings on its final design contract. A joint meeting of the park's board and the Irvine City Council on Thursday unanimously approved the final payments and closing of the agreement, and OK'd the next step in planning for a Fire Museum and Safety Learning Center, among other key items.

The design contract, which was inked in 2007, included a number of feasibility studies, work programs and the initiation of the Western Sector Park Development Plan. The total contract was valued at close to $43 million.

The closing of the agreement is a key step for the development because most large-scale design work at the park is officially finished, according to Jenn Starnes, spokeswoman for the local destination.

While general infrastructure construction has been going on throughout the Western Sector, including a reclaimed water line and a primary power project, the move "in large part" finalizes the design of the master plan, she said.

"The corporation and Design Studio staff collaborated to complete this contract on time, under budget and with an award-winning result," said Larry Agran, Irvine mayor pro tem and chairman of the Great Park board. "The City Council and board actions today represent fiscal accountability and remarkable progress toward building the Great Park."

The $5.4 million cost-savings will go toward a number of other developments at the park, including an enhanced parking and entry plaza.

Additionally, the park's board approved reserving a 1.2-acre site for phase-one development of a Fire Museum and Safety Learning Center, with the option of expanding the space to 2.7 acres for the full project. Officials also authorized the park's CEO, Michael Ellzey, to negotiate a lease with an unspecified nonprofit for the space.

The matter will now go to the Irvine City Council for approval.

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