Garden Grove

The envisioning of Willowick begins

ATTENDEES at Thursday’s “Envision Willowick!” session consider the possibilities for the golf course site (Orange County Tribune photos).

By Jim Tortolano

When Walt Disney looked at a big orange orchard in Anaheim, he saw the Happiest Place on Earth. When the cities and residents of Garden Grove and Santa Ana look at the 101.5-acre Willowick Golf Course site, will they think that big?

The intriguing comparison of the two locations was mentioned during Tuesday’s first “Envision Willowick!” workshop, held on Thursday at the Goodwill Industries building in Santa Ana.

Owned by the City of Garden Grove but within Santa Ana city limits, the Willowick site will be available for development in a few years, and interested parties are mulling over possibilities for that large, flat and mostly undeveloped piece of property in the center of Orange County.


“When you go to Disneyland,” said Andrew Watkins of SWA – a firm helping to percolate ideas about the land – “it seems like a big place.” Looking at a Power Point slide with the golf course outline laid over Disneyland, he added, “But it’s only 85 acres; smaller than Willowick.”

The possible uses for the land suggested by the crowd of about 50 attendees – as well as some notions raised by SWA – included a sports stadium, a college, a corporate campus, parks, a mall, “a main street,” an improved golf course, a library, a museum and a concert hall.

Mayor Steve Jones, City Manager Scott Stiles, Community and Economic Development Director Lisa Kim and Garden Grove Downtown Business Association President Ric Lerma represented Garden Grove at the event.

The next workshop will be held at Spurgeon Intermediate School, 2701 5th St. in Santa Ana, from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 27.  A new workshop has been added in Garden Grove on Tuesday, Oct. 2 at the Buena Clinton Youth and Family Center, 12661 Sunswept Ave. from 6-8 p.m.

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