Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D—Orange County), released the newly completed artist rendering for the Orange County veteran cemetery master plan for the strawberry field site at El Toro Marine Base. The study was started after the City of Irvine originally voted to transfer 125 acres of land to the California Department of Veteran Affairs in September. Nonetheless, arguments as to the merits of this new site, over the previous ARDA site have ensued by the Irvine City Council. Construction costs are generally the same for both sites located on the El Toro Marine Base. The difference is the removal of over $30 million for the demolition, and removal of debris and pollution that came with the previous airfield construction on the ARDA site. The site at strawberry fields will be roughly half the cost. More information on the study of the site is still forthcoming.
“It is important that people are informed of any developments that can spur public discussion, especially when it will determine a resting place for our nation’s great heroes,” said Quirk-Silva. “The new artist rendering illustrates the progress we have made. We have a vision, and if everything goes smoothly, cemetery construction could start as early as October 2018.”
The new cemetery is expected to relieve a shortage in military gravesite in Southern California. The national cemetery in Los Angeles is at capacity and the one in Riverside requires a lengthy wait. Local chapters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion have backed the strawberry field site.
For further information, including a printable high definition version of the map, visit the Assemblywoman’s website.