J2 Engineering & Environmental Design
Queen Creek, Arizona's new Mansel Carter Oasis Park (MCOP) opened to the public in September 2018 after only 18 months from design to completion with Landscape Architects of J2 Engineering & Environmental Design as the lead design firm. The exciting and innovative 46-acre regional park facility serves many recreational needs for the Queen Creek community. The park provides an equestrian trailhead and resting node along the Queen Creek Wash, which links to the overall regional trail system. Upon entry, the use of stormwater harvesting bio-swales along the park roadways truly make a sustainable design impact on the site. The MCOP site design beautifully accommodates a 5-acre urban fishing lake that is stocked by the Arizona Department of Game and Fish. The lake is designed to appear larger due to the various curves and undulating edges, while still allowing for ease of maintenance. Custom shade ramadas are dappled throughout the park and may be rented for celebrations with a lakeside destination peninsula integrated into the lake design. The baseball field complex includes a raised plaza with stadium style bleacher seating, a shaded playground, restroom and concession building, abundant shade for spectators, and enclosed dugout and bullpens. There are two multi-use fields that can be utilized for soccer, football, or large-scale events. Both the baseball field complex and multi-use fields utilize total cutoff LED lighting for state-of-the-art performance and light and glare control. The elevated hilltop inclusive playground and rock-climbing wall zone provide stunning views of the San Tan Mountains to the south, while the splash-pad and sand-dig zone take advantage of beautiful lakeside views. The park site even has its own "social media photo hillside zone" complete with logo backdrop. MCOP is heavily used and loved by the community and is a destination with a true sense of place for all those living in the surrounding San Tan Valley.
Innovation & Contribution
One of the outstanding innovations that was included in the project was the fulfillment of the town's goal of achieving an inclusive playground - a space that would accommodate the play needs of children of all abilities and ages. Often times, designers only focus on ADA as a means to achieve inclusivity. At MCOP, the town staff, design team, and contracting team all worked together to develop inclusivity as a major detail. Features and play equipment were intentionally selected for the playground zone to provide for the various needs of children of all abilities. The team worked with a stakeholder group of local parent advocates who helped develop the park's playground area into a truly amazing amenity. To take the inclusive innovation a step further, the town and team developed a working partnership with Banner Health, Inc. The Banner Ironwood Medical Center team donated a $150,000 Grant to fund the rubberized safety surfacing throughout the play areas and splash pad to help the town achieve universal access and inclusivity. This public-private partnership provided innovation and a contribution that set a fantastic example for the industry and community.
As seen in LASN magazine, March 2021.