By Brian Park
The entry gate into the future Reata Park and Event Center will bear the logo of the city and the organization responsible for the park’s design and construction, the Open Space Foundation.
The sign will be located at the park’s entrance on Ortega Highway and features two stone pilasters with both logos.
The foundation’s original proposal did not include the city’s name, but at city staff’s request, two options were given. The City Council voted 3-2 to approve a 24-by-8 sandblasted wood sign with the city’s name in white lettering, similar to the signs at other city parks.
The council also approved the installation of a flagpole. An existing monument plaque will be relocated within the park to serve as a base for the flagpole.
Prior to their meeting, the city received several letters about the item from members of Capistrano Common Sense, a local activist group and publishers of a monthly newsletter often critical of the Open Space Foundation and council decisions.
The city purchased the land, formerly known as the East Open Space Lemon Grove, in a 2010 deal for 132 acres for $27.5 million collected from $30 million bond voters approved in 2008. Although the foundation is footing the $2.7 million to construct the park, Capistrano Common Sense member Clint Worthington objected to having a private organization’s logo placed on a sign for a public park.
“Honor the residents who worked hard for the purchase of this property,” Worthington said.
Mayor Pro Tem Sam Allevato defended the foundation’s logo, saying that their volunteers donated significant time to build the park at no cost to the city.
“The small number of complainers has not contributed one iota to this effort yet they continue to criticize,” Allevato said. “However, unless you’re willing to give sweat equity, you should be grateful. This beautiful monument entry into Reata Park would’ve cost the city thousands of dollars to construct and is being given to the city for free.”