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Mayor touts proposals for library, tech hub

Irvine Mayor Steven Choi revisited plans to build a metropolitan library during his second state of the city address Tuesday.

Choi announced he is in the process of establishing a library foundation steering committee and hopes to build a library rivaling those in Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Cerritos.


He also announced his vision of turning the city into a new technology hub, calling the proposal “the Irvine Initiative for Tech Valley.”

In last year’s address, the mayor proposed a technologically advanced library with seminar rooms, study rooms, a food court and coffee shops to be built at the Orange County Great Park.


Choi also cited the city’s good weather, quality of life and research-oriented UC Irvine as key ingredients to making Irvine an internationally recognized “Tech Valley.”

The mayor reported on the city’s financial health with goals to increase the contingency fund balance to 20% over the next three years. Reserves are currently at $23 million, or about 16% of the city’s budgeted appropriations.

Overall the city’s revenues grew from the previous fiscal year with sales tax increasing 3.7%, hotel tax 6.1% and assessed valuation — which affects city revenues from property taxes — nearly 5%.

Choi also addressed the agreement to build 688 acres at the Great Park with FivePoint Communities over the next five years.


The value of the agreement with FivePoint Communities exceeds $200 million, he said.

With the construction of the Great Park, Irvine is nearly doubling the city’s park space, he said, though critics have argued the process is taking much too long.

Choi also announced the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon would return to the city for a second time in 2015.

The international event was held in Irvine last year for the first time outside of Washington, D.C., land was attended by 64,000 people, he said.


From the Mayor

•Irvine is the safest city in America for communities with a population of more than 100,000 (FBI statistics on violent crimes).

•Ranked No. 1 in Best-Run Cities survey. Criteria include economy, job market, low crime level and welfare of the community. (24/7 Wall Street)

•City’s unemployment rate dropped 1% to 4.2 %. (Bureau of Labor Statistics November 2013)

•Civic Center is now open every Friday after being closed every other Friday for 19 years.

•The city had more than $5.1 million in its year-end balance and directed more than $2.4 million to the contingency fund and $2 million into the infrastructure and rehabilitation fund.

•The mayor visited sister cities Taoyuan, Taiwan, and Seocho-gu, South Korea, in October. Delegates from Taoyuan will visit Irvine in March.

•Broadcom Corp. and FivePoint Communities reached an agreement in principle to build Broadcom’s new headquarters within the Great Park Neighborhoods.

•Great Park will include a sports park, golf course, wildlife corridor, agricultural area and trails.