By Collin Breaux | Email: cbreaux@picketfencemedia.com | Twitter: @collin_breaux

People looking to safely go outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic can do so at Esencia Sports Park, now open in Rancho Mission Viejo.

The park’s amenities include a synthetic turf area, sports fields and a swimming pool. The recreation complex is brand-new and the latest amenity for the South Orange County community. The 30-acre site is located in the Village of Esencia, one of the residential neighborhoods at The Ranch.

Esencia Sports Park at Rancho Mission Viejo offers a synthetic turf area, sports fields and a swimming pool. Photo: Bil Zelman.

“We are very excited to offer this state-of-the-art recreational amenity for all residents to enjoy,” Executive Vice President of Community Development Paul Johnson said. “Esencia Sports Park ensures that everyday athletes of all ages and ability have yet another opportunity to take advantage of the tremendous weather and unique lifestyle found at Rancho Mission Viejo.”

Only general passive use under county and state guidelines is currently allowed—essentially meaning families and visitors can walk around the park but no organized sports are permitted. Parts of Esencia Sports Park are open to people other than Ranch residents, since it’s considered a regional sports park, but other areas such as the pool are in access-controlled areas open only to residents.

“Residents are so happy,” Senior Vice President of Design Kris Maher said. “They’re so tired of being cooped up.”

Maher also noted the park is close to the natural space at The Reserve and offers a stunning view of the area’s outdoor features. Ranch officials and designers took care to ensure they were environmentally responsible and accommodating for people when designing and building the complex.

“The elevation affords these great views, but also has the potential to make access challenging,” Maher said. “Rancho Mission Viejo is an intergenerational community, so we looked at how to best create a place all our residents could easily navigate. Instead of traditional ramps that switch back and forth that can be rather steep, we stretched out the walkways so the incline would be more gradual.”

The park will also have restrooms, concession stands and LED field lighting.

The project has been in the works for some time—approximately 18 months in the design and public bid phase and another 18 months for the build itself.

“The construction logistics of a site that large are pretty significant,” Maher said.

Esencia Sports Park is expected to see a gradual increase in activity as years go by, Johnson said.

The new park comes at a time when the Village of Esencia itself is reportedly doing well. There continues to be great success with home sales, and as of press time approximately 40 homes were available for sale, Johnson said. By the end of the year, Esencia is expected to be completely sold out. Rienda, the next Rancho Mission Viejo village, will not open until 2022.

Esencia Sports Park at Rancho Mission Viejo offers a synthetic turf area, sports fields and a swimming pool. Photo: Bil Zelman.

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