IRVINE (CBSLA) — The Irvine City Council held a special meeting tonight to discuss a long-awaited cemetery for veterans — and residents came out in force.

“Let’s stop playing games,” Bob Holtzclaw, an Irvine resident and former Army Lt., said.

Back in 2014, the Irvine City Council unanimously voted to designate up to 125 acres of the former Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro, for the proposed Orange County Veterans Cemetery. The proposed cemetery would give area veterans a local option for funeral services with military honors.

The closest regional option for Orange County veterans is the Riverside Veterans Cemetery, which offers neither a convenient location nor a long-term solution for the large number of Orange County veterans and their families, according to the National Cemetery Administration.

At the Tuesday night meeting, veterans and residents were joined by State Senator Tom Umberg in urging the council to move forward with plans for the cemetery.

“The state is ready,” one speaker said. “The citizens want it. Who is the 500-pound gorilla no one talks about?”

Some residents at the meeting said the city council was stalling the project so a residential developer could purchase more of the land for homes.

“The Great Park was huge to start off with,” Holtzclaw said. “And what’s happened over the years is it’s gotten smaller and smaller and smaller. Developers have bought the properties. Now you see homes all over it. They should call it Little Park.”

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