As a result of State grant funding, Fullerton will purchase from property owner Chevron and their housing subsidiary Pacific Coast Homes (PCH) nearly half of the 510-acre West Coyote Hills as a park and open space.
The acquisition will protect the open space and habitat, protect and restore urban watershed health, and provide environmental education and stewardship.
With the purchase of Neighborhood 1 (10.4 acres) and Neighborhood 3 (13.7 acres), the City will own the entire 217.2-acre eastern portion of West Coyote Hills from Gilbert to Euclid Streets. The eastern portion also includes the City-owned 72.3-acre Robert Ward Nature Preserve and an additional 120.8 acres of open space that Chevron/PCH will deed over to the City as part of a 2015 agreement.
The City has received $27.45 million in grant funds from agencies such as the California Wildlife Conservation Board, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the State Coastal Conservancy. This is above the appraised price of the east side of West Coyote Hills of $18.040 million.
The City will use remaining grant funds, after acquisition, for maintenance and operation of the recreational trails and the interpretive center to be built on the City-owned Robert Ward Nature Preserve.
Staff expects close of escrow on Neighborhoods 1 and 3 to be completed by December 31.
Angela Lindstrom from the Friends of Coyote Hills said that their mission is to save all 510 acres of West Coyote Hills as a park and preserve for now and future generations. She thanked State Senator Josh Newman and Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva for working to obtain State funding.
“Our work is not finished,” Lindstrom said. “The Friends continue to explore the acquisition of the remainder of West Coyote Hills, the portion that is west of Gilbert/Idaho to create a unique natural open space for park-poor north Orange County…Studies have shown that parks and open spaces provide people with mental health benefits. I’m sure you and many others experienced this benefit during the COVID shutdown. And in the larger scheme of the world with the existential threat of climate change, we’re doing the right thing here.”
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