Korean Garden Project at Hillcrest Park takes first step

Update per city officials: “The site has many deed restrictions on the property that limit the use of the land, and we are required to maintain the existing drought tolerant landscape and other existing improvements. Based on the language on the attached agreement, we will also need to obtain written approval from the state before we can make any changes to the maintenance of the property. The Korean American Federation of Orange County may not move forward with any maintenance efforts until this Memorandum of Understanding has been approved by the City and the State.”


The Korean Garden project at Hillcrest Park has taken the first steps by celebrating the area with officials from the Korean American community on August 3, 2023. Cho Bongnam, 28th President of the KAFOC (Korean American Federation OC), points to the one-acre site of the Korean Garden located between the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the flag pole behind the Duck Pond.

“It is a great honor to celebrate such a meaningful day on the 70th anniversary of the Korea-US alliance and the 120th anniversary of Korean immigrants to the United States,” said Mayor Fred Jung.

The KAFOC plans to disclose specific plans such as garden design and budget as soon as they are finalized and start raising funds. They are applying for grants between $8 million and $10 million from the state and federal governments.

Bongnam said, “We will create the most Korean-style, elegant, and authentic Korean garden. I hope the Korean community and the Korean government will help.”

The event was attended by officials from various Korean organizations, including Buena Park City Councilmember Joyce Ahn, U.S. Representative Michelle Park Steele, and California State Senator Dave Min, who expressed their active support.

President of Korean American Chamber of Commerce of Orange Country, Sean Roh, said, “I am already excited to think that I will be able to show Korean gardens to future generations.”

The city plans to provide a long-term lease for the site to the KAFOC. Mayor Jung said that the plants will be drought tollerant and all maintenance will be provided by the KAFOC. Additionally, construction progress will be reviewed after two to three years, and an additional 1 to 2 acres of land can be provided as other plots are available next to the Duck Pond. The current site’s creek, bridge, and duck pond must be preserved in their current state until the garden is built.

KAFOC President Bongnam said, “I think we should focus on landscaping, such as flowers and trees on the designated site, and build buildings later.”


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