People need green spaces where they can relax with their families, play with their children, exercise and play sports with friends, run with their dog, and enjoy nature in their neighborhoods. People should also have a say on the type of the development brought into their communities.

Yet, the cities of Santa Ana and Garden Grove are working to turn one of the last remaining green spaces in central OC into a mixed use residential and commercial project. Willowick’s future development should be decided by residents and not behind closed doors.

Rise Up Willowick was formed to amplify residents’ voices. Our communities are continually threatened by increasing costs of living, a lack of affordable housing, homelessness, a lack of green and open space, and the fear of displacement. 

We are rising up to stop that!!!

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Why Willowick?

Public land in Orange County is becoming scarcer and scarcer! Historically, communities of color and lower to middle working class neighborhoods have less access to public recreational spaces, with cities divesting residents of assets such as open space and affordable housing.

Willowick is 102 acres of green space and located in the historic neighborhood of Santa Anita. According to the American Communities Survey, the average family in the census tracts closest to Willowick made a median income of $48,185, which the US Dept of Housing and Urban Development’s defines as very low to extremely low-income levels. With this much land, it is a crucial opportunity to address health and environmental disparities that impact surrounding neighborhoods, but also North and Central OC as a whole. 

The Santa Anita neighborhood we know now is slated to change, with the cities of Santa Ana and Garden Grove widening an already park-deficient area’s environmental inequities with massive development just in time for transit-oriented gentrification to price out current residents and small businesses. 

What is at stake is a chance to rectify the stark disparities this area faces in comparison to other Orange County cities.


Given that Willowick is the last remaining large piece of public open land in Central OC, it is important that any development that occurs on this land addresses the community’s urgent needs. Collectively, we have created a vision for the future of Willowick!

We believe in

Affordable Housing
that meets the needs of current residents around the Willowick area
A Community Center
that invests in youth, provides community-led programming, cultural related education and activities
Increased Educational Opportunities
to meet the needs of our community, like the creation of a preschool
Parks and Open Space
that are safe and well maintained, are neighborhood friendly, and have walkable spaces
Small and Local Businesses
like co-op businesses that hire locally and cater to local residents

We Are

The Rise Up! Willowick Coalition is a coalition of residents and organizations that are concerned about the planned development of 102 acres of publicly owned open space (currently Willowick Golf Course) in Santa Ana.

Our coalition formed in April 2019 to create a collective vision and strategy to assure that Willowick becomes a community asset that helps address the needs of our current residents.

Coalition Members:

  • Residents and Community Members
  • Kennedy Commission
  • Chispa
  • Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities