Of all of the community associations in Irvine, Woodbridge Village is in a class of its own.
With more than 9,600 units in membership, it is the largest homeowners association in the city. Since the Irvine Company planned to give Woodbridge Village a recreational emphasis, the Woodbridge Village Association was an integral part of the community’s success from the beginning.
“Recreation has always been our focus,” said Kevin Chudy, WVA Executive Director. “In Woodbridge, residents are never more than a five minute walk from a park or a pool.”
That was the plan right from the beginning. When former Irvine Company President, Ray Watson, and his planning team developed the new village in 1976, they set out to create a community with recreation at its centerpiece.
“I wanted to have as many family recreational facilities as possible in this village,” said Watson. “That’s why Woodbridge is known for it’s diversity of parks and pools. We also wanted a community connected by paths, so that all of the neighborhoods could easily enjoy the amenities.”
As a result, Woodbridge Village has 41 recreational facilities, including twenty-two pools and two centrally-located lakes. Variety is another hallmark of the village, which offers everything from a Big Wheel Park to Tennis Clubs to sandy, lakeside lagoons. All are available to residents who pay a monthly membership fee of $82.
Like most everything in Irvine, the Woodbridge Village Association was the result of a carefully executed plan. Robert Figeira was hired by the Irvine Company to be the first Executive Director of the Woodbridge Village Association. It was Figeira who hired the first lifeguards and organized early recreational programs. He believed in the importance of establishing a solid foundation of recreational activities as a way to establish a sense of community.
“It is what draws people out of their homes and allows them to get to know their neighbors,” said Figeira. “When people move to Woodbridge, they buy into a lifestyle geared to open space and recreation areas that encourage a very social community.”
Along with it’s many facilities, Woodbridge also offers a wide variety of recreational activities for its residents. A prime example is the elaborate 4th of July celebration. The day begins with more than 800 runners participating in a 5K and 10K race through village streets. After an Independence Day Parade with homemade floats and bikes decorated by neighborhood kids, there is a carnival and barbecue at the South Lake Lagoon. The day is capped off with a professional fireworks display that homeowners can watch from their own front yards.
40 years later, Woodbridge Village Association still functions as it did in the beginning.
“Even though it has matured over the years, Woodbridge is still the same place that is was before,” said Chudy. “Our programs have changed a bit to match the needs of our community, but we still focus on family-centered recreation. Plus, when you call, you still get a real person who answers the phone.”