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03-17-20 | Feature

Fallon Sports Park Phase 2

Dublin, California
by William E. Fee, Principal, Landscape Architect, ASLA, AICP, Carducci Associates

Utilizing valuable input from local residents, Carducci Associates developed the master plan for Fallon Sports Park, a premier sports facility in Dublin, Calif. Phase 2 of the 60-acre park, completed in 2018, accommodates a number of competition sports fields including a 90-foot lighted baseball diamond, lighted softball and soccer fields, as well as basketball, tennis, bocce ball and volleyball courts. Answering the needs of a wide range of site users, the park also provides a playground and picnic area, a BMX course, water play areas, walking paths and convenient parking.
Sandblasted imprints of native wildlife are found throughout the park to educate about local birds and butterflies native to the area.
Fallon Sports Park's PH 1 synthetic soccer field is popular among athletes. The park contains two of the lighted fields, which are available for rental by the community.
A basket swing, belt swing, slides, and a vertical spider's web net are among several features in the play area.
PH 2 of the park included an adventure playground, restrooms, a concession building, and additional parking.
California fuchsia and various other pollinator-friendly plants are dappled throughout the park to attract local wildlife and create a more subdued and naturalistic landscape in contrast to the manicured sports fields.
Heath Satow's Elatus statue, which "expresses athletic triumph; the celebration of joy and glory - when game and athlete have become one."
The original Fallon Sports Park master plan, which was completed in 2005. The grand opening for Phase I was in 2010 and PH 2 was on March 24, 2018. The park currently encompasses 28 acres of the 60-acre site and phase two encompasses 19.75 acres (of the 28 acres) on the lower level of the site.
A hillside of lupines lines the path leading up to Fallon Rd. The photo was taken the first spring following the grand opening of Phase 1.
PH 2's lower terrace adventure playground, bocce court, shaded group picnic area and restroom/concession building.

The Project Scope
Fallon Sports Park is located in Dublin, California, a suburban city of about 60,000 people located 35 miles east of San Francisco, in the region known as the Tri-Valley area which is a triangle-shaped region of the eastern San Francisco Bay Area. Over the last 30 years, Dublin has planned its population growth across former agricultural lands through a series of carefully crafted specific development plans that has organized transportation, housing growth, parks, schools and retail development and used parkland dedication and park development fees paid by new homeowners at the time of home purchase to fund park development. In 2003, the City of Dublin hired Carducci Associates to prepare the master plan for Fallon Sports Park, and identified a 60-acre parcel on Fallon Road in Eastern Dublin as a "park facility to accommodate the majority of competition ball fields in the city." The firm completed phase 2 of the park in the spring of 2018.

The Site
The site has an overall elevation change of approximately 100 feet, from north to south. This 100-foot drop occurs over a length of 2,500 feet, creating an overall 4% slope across the site; and much of the site exceeds 5%, which is too steep for sports fields. On the western edge of the park is a continuous 80-foot-wide stream corridor that was developed for environmental mitigation purposes and contains entirely California native riparian plants. The grass-covered, treeless rolling hills provide attractive views to the east, west and to the south. The prevailing western winds often dominate the park environment. The existing soil is classified as predominantly of the Tassajara formation characterized by a high-clay content and poor drainage.

The Program
The Fallon Sports includes the following amenities: baseball fields, synthetic turf soccer fields, softball fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, BMX track, children's play area, jogging and walking loop, family and group picnic areas, bocce ball courts, shade structures, restrooms, concessions, public art, lighting for sports fields and parking lots.

Grading Concept
In order to create usable, level surfaces for the sports facilities, and to accept soil fill from adjacent developments, two main terraces (upper and lower) have been created. These terraces create a dramatic grade change of 30 feet between each level and significant embankment at the corners of the park. The terracing also allows for two main vehicular entries.

Site Drainage
Each field, hub, and parking lot serves as its own watershed and connects to the perimeter storm drainage system. All park storm water is cleaned before it exits the park. No park drainage enters the stream corridor, which is only meant to accept drainage from northerly developments and is intended to be a wildlife corridor as it runs along the sports park. The natural grass sports fields have a "Cambridge-like" sand drainage system in the amended clay top soil.

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Site Irrigation
The entire park is irrigated with reclaimed water. After establishment, most of the native plantings do not require much supplemental irrigation. Graywater is collected from one restroom building to irrigate trees on a slope downhill of the restroom.

Phasing
The park was divided into Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3. Phase 3 is currently under design and will include a Cricket pitch. The work by Carducci Associates for Fallon Sports Park from 2003 included the master plan for the 60-acre sports park, the mass grading plan for the park, coordinating with surrounding street development, design of Phase 1 improvements on 26 acres completed in 2010 and the 20 acres of Phase 2 completed in 2018.

Project Essence
Fallon Sports Park provides an intriguing case study for the ability of a traditionally highly maintained natural turf and synthetic turf sports complex to provide an ecological and hydrological partner to broader development patterns taking shape throughout the City of Dublin. The naturalized landscape and the synthetic turf sports fields require less maintenance and less water than a park in the traditional English landscape style. This allows the city maintenance resources that would be spread thin to maintain 60 acres of lawn to be better focused to maintain the natural grass softball and baseball fields at a higher level of quality than what is common in most San Francisco Bay Area municipal sports parks. This quality of sports field distinguishes Dublin among the other communities in the Tri-Valley Area.

As an aesthetic contrast to the highly manicured flat sports fields, the surrounding designed landscape takes on a quality of wildness that supports wildlife habitat and is more natural and in character with the riparian streambed corridor of native pants immediately to the west of the park. In fact, in parts of the park, the native plants from the streambed corridor have naturalized into the park landscape that surrounds and defines the sports fields. This natural succession of the wildness into the park is establishing natural coast scrub habitat. To help support the appreciation of nature, throughout the park there are engravings in the concrete paving of birds and butterflies native to the site. Bio-basins are planted with over a dozen species of native plants, and include educational signage about the role of a bio-basin in the water cycle, and the pollinators and bloom periods associated with specific native plants.

The park, over a period of years, incorporated the best aspects of sustainable park design. It incorporated native plant communities, introduced organic park construction and maintenance practices, preserved water and soil, and advanced the design of sustainable athletic fields. The park provides facilities for sports, health and fitness, promotes walking, includes opportunities for environmental education and fosters an emotional appreciation of nature. It also introduced a sustainable approach to park design and maintenance, as well as introducing the City of Dublin to native plant communities on a scale that had not been done before. The results are a beautiful blend of sustainable wildness and active sports facilities.

Team List
Design Team: Carducci Associates;
Bill Fee, Vince Lattanzio, Yi Jin Kim and Alvin Tang
Client: City of Dublin, California;
Diane Lowart, Paul McCreay, Meghan Tiernan, Herma Lichtenstein, Rosemary Alex,Lorin Jensen
General Contractor for PH1 & PH2:
Robert A. Bothman, Santa Clara, CA
Construction Manager for Ph1 & PH2: E.
Majdalani Construction Management
Electrical Engineer: Zeiger Engineers
Structural Engineer: KPA
Civil Engineer: Bohley Consulting
Geotechnical Engineers: Berlorgar Stevens Associates
Sports Field Sand Drainage: Colony Landscape & Maintenance
Earthwork Calculations: Earthcalc
Artist: Heath Satow
Aerial Photographer: Steve Proehl

As seen in LASN magazine, March 2020.

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