Wild Rivers possibly returning to Irvine

Monsoon Lagoon in Wild Rivers in 2008. (Anthony Castellano / Orange County Register)

By DAKOTA NIEMANN
Contributing Writer

On March 22, delegates of the Wild Rivers Corporation and the City of Irvine met to discuss the potential leasing of the Great Park, for the reconstruction of the Wild Rivers Waterpark.

This conference was the second in an attempt by Wild Rivers Corporation to bring back the water park to the city. A proposal which was rejected in 2015, under the regards according to Wild Rivers President Mike Reidel that, “a waterpark no longer fit into the county’s plan.”

Many UHS students agreed that the city should accept Wild Rivers proposals. Elina Rodriguez (Jr.) stated, “I remember when they got rid of Wild Rivers, and it made me sad. But now there is an opportunity for something fun to once again return to Irvine.”

Another shared statement of approval is from Nathan Hyuh (Jr.) who said, “The loss of the park is a shame to the city.  We lost something that we all loved and what helped define Irvine itself.”

Although many students wish to have the park returned, there is some doubt that it will occur. One main factor deals with economic interest of the city. When Wild Rivers originally closed in 2011, it was because the County refused to renew the park’s lease. The lease was rejected and instead was given to the Irvine Company, which in late 2011, began construction on the now current Los Olivos Apartment Homes, an act which is considered by some to be another attempt by the Irvine Company to buy more of the city’s land.

Anastasia Melnikova (Sr.) said, “The Irvine company obviously offered the county a better lease that provided them a greater income. It’s an action that reflects the Company’s ever growing control and influence on the city.”

UPDATE: 

Delegates from the Wild Rivers Corporation and Irvine met to discuss the potential reopening of the park, within the city’s Great Park on March 22.

According to the OC Register, city officials urged the park’s president, Mike Riedel, to elaborate on it’s overall logistics.

Riedel said, “we are ready to do business…we have a proven track record and our financing is ready to go.”  Riedel continued by explaining how the park would bring $500,000 in income to the city and along with offering employment to the youth of Irvine.  

Riedel also discussed how the park’s construction would not infringe on current traffic conditions in Irvine because there would be, “very few peak hours.”  The park will be able to operate with limited water usage because most of the park’s water will be filtered and recycled.

Toward the end of this meeting, council members Beth Krom and Lynn Schott, urged the public to be involved in discussing the park’s return.  They also urged that people elaborate upon what they see in both the park and cities future.  “This is a big project and it’s so important for the future success of this city,” Schott said.

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