I’ve been following an interesting debate in Orange County (Calif.) about the pending gift of open space from the Irvine Company, the large real-estate developer with roots in the county that date back to the 1860s, to the county government. The 20,000-acre parcel of undeveloped land in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains is remarkable for its ecological diversity. It’s potentially a boon for hikers and other recreationalists, too, being that it’s surrounded by the huge population centers of Southern California.
What’s not to like about a free gift, you ask? Alas, free land is never truly free. A debate has revolved around the costs of maintaining and administering access to the land. Could the county afford it in this budget-challenged era? Could a local nonprofit do a better job? Should it stay in private hands?
Yesterday, the local county board made its decision on whether or not to accept the gift. What do you think they did?
Photo used with permission of The Irvine Company. Copyright, The Irvine Company LLC 2010. All Rights Reserved.