Orange supports ambitious proposals for

Grijalva Park with partnerships, not promises

March 2019

The remaining usable acreage at Grijalva Park may, or may not, offer something for everyone. It depends on who, or who doesn’t, raise the funds for construction.

The 42-acre Grijalva Park, located at Prospect and Spring Street in Orange, is home to soccer fields, basketball courts and open grassland for picnics and play (15 acres), a sports center (eight acres), and 10 acres of unbuildable property (Santiago Creek). It still has nine open acres available for community recreation facilities. 

Over the last six months, the city has been approached by community groups with ambitious ideas for what those nine acres could become. The Greater Orange Community Arts Theater (GOCAT) group wants to put a theater there. The Orange Library Foundation wants a branch facility. The ORCA swim group want an aquatics facility with two pools, and Mark Connor of the Contenders Boardshop is leading an effort to put a skate park there.  In addition, there have been community discussions about adding an east end senior center.

Eyes all a-twinkle
The Orange City Council was presented with the Grijalva Park wish list at its Feb. 12 meeting, with the understanding that the city did not have the funds to build any of it.  

“We are land rich and cash poor,” Mayor Mark Murphy admitted. “We don’t have money for any of these facilities.”  But, he said, the city could establish partnerships with the groups to encourage their fundraising efforts. “The fact that the city is in on it boosts credibility,” he said.  

Mark Connor reported that his store puts dollars aside for the skate park, and that shoe manufacturers and the Tony Hawk Foundation support it.  David Bustamonte of the Library Foundation assured the council that a library at the Grijalva site was unanimously supported by the board, and GOCAT’s Michael Short noted that with grant money and donors, a performing arts center could be created by 2022.

Whether or not the park infrastructure could support all those facilities, whether the neighbors could abide the increased usage, or whether there would be adequate parking is undetermined.  

Let’s work together
“There are no formal arrangements, at this point,” City Manager Rick Otto said. “We need to understand the costs on the city side going forward.”

Council members were enthusiastic about the prospects. “I’m encouraged that this is going on,” Chip Monaco advised. “We want all these things, and it looks like organizations are willing to step forward.”

“Maybe this is the exciting idea we talked about last December,” Mike Alvarez suggested. “Let’s encourage the community and move forward.”

The city plans to formalize partnership agreements with the arts, swim, skate, library and senior citizen stakeholding organizations.  Whoever raises the needed funds will likely find a home for their ambitions in Grijalva Park.