The Willowick Golf Course, an approximately 102-acre site, is one of the last remaining large-scale, open space, public lands in Orange County and, instead of prioritizing open space, affordable housing, and other community benefits, the Cities of Santa Ana and Garden Grove are looking to dispose of Willowick for a massive development project.
Willowick, located in the City of Santa Ana and legally owned by the City of Garden Grove, is in close proximity to predominantly low-income, working class communities of color. Both cities are located in the middle of Orange County and are mostly built-out cities where large open space land is scarce, making opportunities for large-scale projcts for community benefit rare.
Additionally, both Cities have majority people of color and lower-income residents, compared to the rest of the county.
The Cities of Santa Ana and Garden Grove need to ensure that Willowick becomes a community asset that helps address the needs of their current residents. In order for residents in these cities to truly thrive, the Cities of Santa Ana and Garden Grove need to prioritize creating additional affordable housing units and open space.
With the Surplus Land Act, California has established that the development of open space and affordable housing, along with other benefits, need to be prioritized on public surplus lands. Not only does the City have a moral obligation to ensure the Willowick site use benefits the community, but there is a legal obligation to do so. Willowick is public land and it should be used to serve and meet the needs of the public.