The Orange County Water District Board of Directors meets tomorrow morning. Among the closed session items is about beginning discussion with Competitive Power Ventures on a deal to build a power plant on the OCWD-owned Ball Road Basin (see photo below):
As has been reported in the OC Register, the City of Anaheim is opposed to this proposal and has expressed its interest in buying the property at fair-market value and use it to build a sports park. According to the city:
“We are interested in adding 20 acres of park space and lighted sports fields off Ball Road/57 Freeway called the Ball Road Basin. This land is adjacent to Anaheim Coves, and the City envisions a place for youth and adult sports, and walking paths as an extension of Anaheim Coves along the Santa Ana River.”
Today, Anaheim Councilmembers Kris Murray and Jordan Brandman sent this letter to OCWD General Manager Michael Markus, from which I will excerpt:
The City of Anaheim is very interested in entering into discussions with the OCWD for the purchase of the land for open space purposes, specifically the development of a sports complex that would address a shortage of sports fields in our City and the surrounding communities. The City is certainly aware of OCWD’s desire to obtain a fair market value for the land.
Anaheim’s park system is widely acclaimed for its many diverse amenities that provide recreational opportunities ranging from hiking and picnicking, to programmed recreational and passive play activities. However, due to the demand for sports league and tournament opportunities, combined with a dramatic increase in the popularity of both youth and adult soccer, Anaheim does not possess park acreage capable of holding a large sports complex. Such a complex could contain multiple lighted fields and other related amenities including a children’s tot lot, restrooms and concession/team room buildings, and associated parking. Due to the scarcity of vacant land of this size within the City, the Ball Road Basin is very unique and if developed into a park it would serve to meet a district need.
We respectfully request that you work with Anaheim city staff to look at an alternative site for the proposed power plant which would enable the Ball Road Basin land to be developed for park purposes. The City has long appreciated the respectful, cooperative working relationship that we have developed over the years with the OCWD that most recently resulted in the construction of the very popular Anaheim Coves at Burris Basin project. We would greatly appreciate the opportunity to continue that partnership to protect this parcel for the open space to meet the needs of the residents and surrounding communities in Anaheim and Orange.
Unfortunately, this will most likely not be over quickly or quietly. Left unsaid in the coverage of the issue but present nonetheless is that Anaheim has options if the OCWD goes ahead with the power plant project. Stay tuned…