A look back: A $1.6 million anniversary gift helped restore Newport’s Back Bay

Ten years later, the gift is still giving

THEN: Irvine Company donated $1.6 million to the City of Newport Beach in 2006, its centennial year, for three Back Bay improvements.

The company provided $600,000 to help build the Back Bay Science Center on Shellmaker Island. And it provided $1 million to help the city improve the Back Bay Loop Trail and help restore water quality at Big Canyon’s freshwater and tidal marshes.

“In this special year, we wish to honor the city in a special and lasting way, focusing on one of our most important open space and recreational assets: the Back Bay,” Irvine Company Chairman Donald Bren said at the time.

NOW: All three improvements serve a vital role in helping the public appreciate the Back Bay’s 135-acre Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and the 752-acre Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve.

—May 2016