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Veterans Sports Park, featuring a solemn memorial, quietly opens at Tustin Legacy

In two short years, Tustin has turned a 32-acre expanse of dirt at Tustin Legacy into the multifaceted Veterans Sports Park.

But despite the pride, work and money that went into it, the long-anticipated park opened recently without a whisper of fanfare.

“Tustin is happy to share that the fences have come down around Veterans Sports Park,” the city announced in an underwhelming Facebook post.



Echoing today’s refrain regarding events everywhere, Councilman Chuck Puckett said, “We had intended to hold a ribbon cutting, but that will have to wait because of coronavirus.”

The $19.5 million park features softball, football and soccer fields, as well as tennis, basketball, racquetball, volleyball and pickleball courts.

A veterans’ memorial, standing at the park’s entrance at Lansdowne Road and Valencia Avenue, pays tribute to the city’s military history.

Designed with input from veterans’ groups a decade ago, a five-sided obelisk represents the five branches of the military. An eagle adorns the top of the monument, which sits on mosaic star – each point leading to memorials listing the names of Tustin residents who died while serving.

“The memorial is phenomenal,” Puckett said. “We are so excited about it.”

Tustin Legacy is a mixed-use planned community that has evolved in stages on 1,600 acres left behind when the Marine Corp Air Station closed.

The city serves as master planner, in charge of laying infrastructure before selling pieces of land to commercial and housing developers – with one project funding the next.

Of course, all is not as it someday will be at Tustin’s new park.

At the already popular skate park, social distancing is currently mandated. Skaters are asked to come with members of their own households rather than in packs of friends.

The picnic area, splash pad and playground equipment are off-limits – with slides and swing sets taped off.

And youth sports – one of the park’s main reasons to be – will not be in action.

Those who would rather hang out than sweat can do so in the park’s grassy areas, fully available for relaxation.

Active in the city since he moved there in 1975, Puckett has witnessed the progression of Tustin Legacy over the years. After serving twice on the City Council – both recently and in the 1990s – Puckett will term out this December.

“This is a really great way to cap it off,” Puckett said. “I’m going out just as our wonderful park is coming in.”

Source: Orange County Register

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