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Aliso Viejo : Preliminary Spending on Fitness Academy OKd

The Board of Supervisors voted 4 to 1 Tuesday to spend up to $60,000 for environmental reports and other paper work needed to clear the way for building the proposed U.S. Physical Fitness Academy in Aliso Viejo.

The supervisors authorized the Environmental Management Agency to spend up to $50,000 for staff expenses needed to prepare a necessary amendment to the Aliso Viejo Local Coastal Program. The staff also would process a coastal development permit and environmental impact report.

The board authorized the expenditure of up to $10,000 more for a consultant to help in preparing the EIR.

Supervisor Ralph Clark voted against the proposal, arguing that the National Fitness Foundation, which is developing the plans, had not given the board any information on how the academy will function.

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“The promoters have done nothing really . . . in getting their message across,” said Clark, the only Democrat on the nonpartisan board. He said the academy developers were “riding on the good names of (President) Reagan and (Supervisor Thomas F.) Riley.”

Riley, whose district includes the academy site, said Orange County will “benefit not only in prestige but also in education and recreational benefits from having the academy so close by.”

Developers said in February, in announcing their choice of the Aliso Viejo site, that the academy would be a national training headquarters and research center for coaches and physical education instructors.

The National Fitness Foundation is appointed by the President but receives no public financing. Contributions from businesses and groups will support the academy, foundation officials said.

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The honorary chairman of the foundation is George Allen, former coach of the Los Angeles Rams, Washington Redskins and Arizona Wranglers professional football teams.

Architects have estimated the cost of the fitness academy complex at $35 million. The Mission Viejo Co. is dedicating a 175-acre site in the Aliso Viejo Greenbelt to the county for the project.


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