A Park to Honor Our Military06-10-24 | News

A Park to Honor Our Military

Dublin, CA
by Mike Dahl, LASN - Photography by Carducci Associates (aerial by Nathan Norwood, MNS Engineers)

Located near the center of the Bay Area city of Dublin, California, the Don Biddle Community Park was designed under the guidance of the town's approved park master plan. The outcomes of the project included extensive turf and tree areas, an adventure playground, picnic area, community garden and orchard, outdoor classroom, restrooms, shade structures, walking paths, tennis and basketball courts, a memorial honoring local military veterans, and integration with the multiuse Iron Horse Regional Trail, which was already a community entity. To help achieve this green addition to the city, landscape architecture firm Carducci Associates provided the final concept plan, construction documents and construction administration.
The park includes 16 acres of permeable surfaces to help reduce the potential of flood damage. A portion of Chabot Creek, which bisects the park and is part of the Alameda Creek Watershed that flows to the San Francisco Bay, was restored with native plants for bank stabilization and erosion control. For the 10 acres of impervious surfaces in the park, stormwater runoff is treated as part of a plan that includes 20 bioretention basins. Restroom buildings and shade structures were pre-engineered. Approximately 14 acres of the 30-acre park are irrigated with recycled water, saving up to 15 million gallons each year.
Public feedback during the design phase of the park requested playgrounds for ages 2-12 that would serve as a destination for the community. The Adventure Playground was intended to meet that need by being sculpturally beautiful, accommodating many children, providing a variety of play experiences, all while "being colorful with a touch of whimsy." Pictured here is the Wallhola playground from Goric.
A new memorial and a bust of Don Biddle were designed by artist Steven Whyte who was commissioned to honor the Camp Parks military base and local military veterans. This public art project, entitled "Crossroads Memorial," features a plaza containing four larger-than-life-representations of veterans from different eras, branches of service, and demographics, standing at attention before four flags.
Early in the project, it had been decided that ReScape Principles (previously Bay-Friendly) would be incorporated to the best extent possible to promote soil health, conserve water and to protect natural resources, while preventing pollution. And while the city did not move forward with the certification process, the development did exceed the necessary points needed for certification. This included selecting heritage vegetation that are low water use and native; wildlife hydroseeding for large swathes of the park; using a smart controller irrigation system; mulching all planting areas; and incorporating compost bins in the community garden. Approximately 600 trees were planted to define space, provide shade and support the local ecology.
In response to the clay soils and rainfall of 20 inches per year, the planting design is predominately grassland, savannah and urban forest. The site has recycled water meters for irrigation. Adhering to the City of Dublin's sustainability initiatives, the park also showcases drought-tolerant planting throughout.
Don Biddle, the park's namesake who passed away in 2018, was honor with this bust designed by artist Steven Whyte. The inscription reads, "In honor of his 40 years of dedicated public service to the Dublin Community."
Much of the site furnishings and playground equipment have a recycled content that exceeds 50% post-consumer materials and all the play equipment on site are free of PVCs and low-quality material. Best management practices were implemented throughout construction such as watering all exposed surfaces two times a day, and suspending grading and demolition activities when winds exceeded 25 MPH.
"Best Management Practices for Long-term Stormwater Management" were employed, including providing inlet catch basins, constructing 20 bioretention basins for stormwater treatment and the installation of two hydromodification boxes, which aided in the detention of stormwater runoff from the adjacent new development. Also, as part of the construction documentation, a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan was prepared by SWPPP Solutions, and the project team incorporated a "Clean Bay Blue Print" to help guide stormwater quality control on the site during construction. The rear yards of six new single-family homes were purposely placed adjacent to the edge of the park. A paseo between the homes was included.
Scattered throughout the 30-acre site, the design team created and installed educational signage to inform visitors about the history of the landscape, biodiversity, bioretention and plant biomes found on site.

A 187-acre land development for 2,000 homes on land that used to be the site of Camp Parks military base in Dublin, California, included a 30-acre recreational area known as Don Biddle Community Park, named for the city's former vice mayor Donald C. Biddle, who served the town for over 40 years.

First envisioned in 2003, it wasn't until 2013 that the property exchange was finalized. Over the next two years, a master plan for the park was created by the SWA Group. Robert A Bothman Construction was hired to assist with the park design and then landscape architecture firm Carducci Associates was brought on board to prepare the conceptual design and construction documents.

The conceptual design through construction mobilization took a little over three and a half years (May 2017-December 2020). The project's general contractors, Goodfellows Brothers Incorporated and Jensen Landscape began their work in early 2021. Park impact fees, paid by residential development and city funds, accounted for the approximately $22 million original project budget.

Carducci Associates provided the final concept plan, construction documents and construction administration for the community park. The developer contracted separately for the services of a geotechnical consultant and a topographic survey.
The project's design incorporated Bay Friendly Landscape Guidelines and adhered to the updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO) requirements as well as all state and local building codes including the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).

Project Goals
Taking direction from the City of Dublin's approved park master plan, a main lawn area and other turf- and tree-planted areas were created, as were an adventure playground, parent paddock and picnic area, community garden and orchard, outdoor classroom, bridges, restrooms, shade structures, walking paths, tennis and basketball courts and parking areas.

Several public infrastructure projects were coordinated into the park's design including new hydromodification chambers and storm drain facilities to detain and conduct stormwater from the new residential development, new perimeter public streets and utilities, integration with the existing Iron Horse Regional Trail, and a new Iron Horse Regional Trail overcrossing above Dublin Boulevard.

Design Process
Designers and engineers worked together with the general contractor, subcontractors, and field managers to maintain a high level of communication and coordination for this complex project to ensure that critical path items not delay the overall schedule and construction progress.

Construction management entailed best practices including at least 85 Zoom meetings, according to the landscape architecture firm. These meetings "focused on safety, inspections, schedules, submittals, request for information, changes/instructional bulletins and ongoing business."

In addition to weekly meetings, subcontractors were required to submit daily activity reports to the general contractor when they were on site. Digital tools, including 3D modeling overlays, helped manage construction progress and expose potential conflicts before they occurred.

This effort was greatly enhanced by technology from TraceAir with the use of a drone taking imagery of the site on a weekly basis. From this photography, a report was generated to provide updates and "insights on scheduling and tracking numbers such as cut/fill calculations for major earth moving events," reveals Carducci Associates.


Design Details
On the west side of Chabot Creek are a six-acre unprogrammed lawn, berms, trees, hard courts for basketball and tennis, a restroom, a picnic and neighborhood play area, parking, and naturalized open space.

The smaller, east side of the park has a fruit orchard, outdoor classroom, community garden, grove with picnic tables known as the 'Parent Paddock,' horseshoe courts, bocce ball courts, hammocks, the adventure playground and the "Crossroads Veterans" art installation created by Steven Whyte.

Stormwater runoff from 10 acres of impervious surfaces is treated as part of a park wide storm water management plan that includes 20 bioretention basins that treat the stormwater before it enters the Chabot Canal and flows to Alameda Creek and the San Francisco Bay.

The park was designed to provide micro-climates for native insects, which attract other wildlife including Northern Mockingbirds, Red-Tailed Hawks, California Scrub-Jays, Mourning Doves, Red Winged Blackbirds, Wild Turkeys, and Jackrabbits.

Another environmental feature included in the design was support for green transportation systems such as infrastructure for EV charging. Eighty bicycle parking spaces, a bike repair station and connection to the Iron Horse Regional Trail (with a pedestrian and bicycle only bridge crossing over Dublin Boulevard) are all illustrative of the design team's commitment to support alternative modes of transportation to and from the park.

As for innovative materials and designing for longevity, using turf block for vehicular access to Chabot Creek reduces disturbance to sensitive areas near the waterway, and specifying bridges built above the 100-year flood plain ensures access to the creek for years to come.

Delays on the project were experienced including environmental mitigation to Chabot Creek and wetlands, biological surveys, permit reviews/approvals (Water Quality Certification, Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement), and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in a reduction in workforce, county-wide shelter in place ordinances and long lead times on products (specifically plastics and metals).

And there were unexpected surprises. As the Landscape Architect reports, "Killdeer nests, which are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, were discovered during construction." Fencing and monitoring helped ensure protection prior to proceeding with any improvements within identified areas.

Overall, navigating through the many stakeholders was an intensive process for the landscape architecture firm. It required collaboration with the developer, the city, other adjacent public work projects, and public agencies - all with separate agendas, contractors, and design professionals.

"It certainly stretched the design team's skills to maintain the continuity of the conceptual design over a five-year period, while guiding the project's numerous stakeholders," states Carducci Associates.

"The park opening celebration was attended by hundreds of people including representatives of the U.S. Army, the Alameda County Fire Department, Don Biddle family members and every significant politician from Alameda County," the landscape architectural firm proudly proclaims.

Guided tours were also provided to the California Parks and Recreation Society District III Board and its general members "to demonstrate that this park was designed to be a benefit to their community."

Landscape Architect:
Carducci Associates
Developers and General Contractor:
Brookfield Properties
Owner: City of Dublin
Master Plan: SWA Group
Park Contractor:
Goodfellow Brothers
Landscape Contractor:
Jensen Landscape
Consulting Civil Engineer:
MacKay and Somps
Consulting Civil Engineer: RJA
Civil Engineering:
Bohley Consulting
Electrical Engineering:
Zeiger Engineers
Structural Engineering: KPA Group
Environmental Consultant: Cardno
Monuments Artist: Steven Whyte