Latest News

Hot Off The Press: Historic McClatchy Park

Every so often a project comes along that turns out to be Press Worthy…well the editors at Landscape Architect Specifier News (LASN) felt Historic McClatchy Park Renovation was just that project! Out of 54 park project submittals, the editors at LASN chose McClatchy to be one of the 8 featured projects in their March Parks and Playground issue. article-mcclatchyWe could not be more excited on this exposure for the Oak Park Community and the City of Sacramento!

Please click here to view the article!

ASLA Merit Award: Lake Natoma Waterfront & Trail Access

We are so excited to announce that our Lake Natoma Waterfront and Trail Access project was recently awarded an ASLA Merit Award for Visionary/Unbuilt projects. This award is an affirmation of the importance of well-designed access to trails for all user groups and most importantly recognizes the forward thinking of our client, the City of Folsom.


Photo Courtesy: City of Folsom

Lake Natoma has long been a respite for the community from urban expansion and the rigors of daily life. The lake’s trail system provides a critical linkage between urban life and the natural environment of the lake by attracting families, cyclists, runners, kayakers, and many other groups year round. The corridor contains a network of improved trails and un-improved “volunteer” trails, which are spawned from user experience but are less durable over time.


The project study area boasts views of the lake, mature trees, rock outcroppings, and shade from the expansive Lake Natoma Crossing bridge, and is one of the most beloved areas of the lake. As a result, it is heavily used via these volunteer trails. It is so well loved that the use exceeds the carrying capacity of the land, creating issues that include bank erosion, unsafe trails and negative impacts on habitat.


The design team and the City set out to design a resilient, low impact trail that protects resources and provides ADA access all the way from the Folsom Historic District to Lake Natoma. With this visionary concept guiding the way, the design minimizes disturbance by utilizing alignments of the existing volunteer trails, provides access to the water via a water landing, and is constructed of concrete utilizing a specially developed finish resembling a natural trail. When complete, the trail will serve as the gold standard of inclusive trails within the region.



Historic McClatchy Park Renovation: All Aboard!

For the past two years Callander Associates has been working with the City of Sacramento to renovate this historic park. We have been eager to see the City’s vision finally come to life. Well..the wait is over!


The Grand Re-Opening of the renovated McClatchy Park was held on October 18, 2014 and the reception was amazing! With hundreds in attendance, including Mayor Kevin Johnson, it seemed like the entire community came out for this event.


We could not be more proud of the outcome of this project. And while we are a little biased, we feel the project’s improvements pay homage to the history of the site and capture the character of this Sacramento Community so well the park will be a sought-out recreation destination for years to come!



We are excited to announce that this project is featured in the March issues of Landscape Architect Specifier News! To check out the article click here



Ripple Effect: Jerome D. Barry Park 2014 APWA Winner!

We just got news that Jerome D. Barry Park has won the 2014 Sacramento Chapter APWA Project of the Year Award in the Parks & Trails category! image-1

When given the challenge to design an urban neighborhood park on a two-acre site which will also be home to a 3-million gallon water distribution facility, you have two choices; you can try to sequester the 40 foot tall water tank to the least prominent corner of the site, plant trees around it and do your best to simply ignore it, or, you do what Callander Associates and Carollo Engineers (prime consultant and project water engineers) did at Jerome D. Barry Park and celebrate the tank and its importance to the community by making it the central focal feature of the park.


This dual purpose park and water storage facility, which replaces a former industrial site, is a significant infrastructure and recreation asset for the City of West Sacramento. The facility provides water for ongoing development of the rejuvenated Bridge District of West Sacramento. The project team’s understanding of the importance of this facility in the development of the District inspired us to explore ways to make the tank and associated pump building a major park feature.


Due to Homeland Security regulations, the public will not be allowed direct physical access to the tank so treatment of the tank had to be more visual than interactive.  To begin with, the tank was placed in the middle of the site so that all the park features and amenities wrap around it. The entire circumference of the 120-foot diameter tank is embellished with a network of vertical and horizontal pipes.


These pipes, which have been painted in bright green, yellow and red tones to reflect the architectural color scheme of the adjacent neighborhood, align with similarly colored bands of concrete which radiate out throughout the park. These color bands serve to draw park visitors’ attention back to the tank. The pipes and colored bands are an interpretation of the subsurface pipe network which distributes water from the tank to the 10,000 current and future residents of the District. As an added feature the tank pipes light up at night making the tank a beacon and landmark for the entire District.


We are proud to announce that Jerome D. Barry Park is now open. The water supply that is provided by these facilities is necessary for continued growth of the Bridge District. With the park and water facilities now in place we look forward to seeing  the ripple effect that these improvements have in promoting further development of the neighborhood and surrounding community.image-6

Written by Dan Miller, Associate at Callander Associates and Project Manager for Jerome D. Barry Park.  


Triple the Awards, Triple the Fun!

May Day started out great when we received notification that one of our projects, the Lower Guadalupe River Trail in San Jose, won the American Public Works Association (APWA) Silicon Valley Chapter 2014 Project of the Year Award in the Sustainable/Green category.

It got even better when we heard that two of our other projects were also award-winning: San Tomas Aquino Spur Trail in Santa Clara for the Transportation category; and Commodore Park in San Jose in the Environment/Parks category.  All three won in the $2 to $5 million category.

The APWA Project of the Year Award was established to promote excellence in the management and administration of public works projects by recognizing the alliance between the managing agency, the consultant team, and the contractor, who, working together, complete public works projects.  It is the positive partnership of these three parties during construction that makes for ultimate project success.

Lower Guadalupe River Trail

Designer of Record: CH2M Hill

Contractor: Wattis Construction Co.

Click here to read more about Lower Guadalupe River Trail which was featured on our website back in April of 2013.


San Tomas Aquino Spur Trail

Location: Santa Clara

Designer of Record: Mark Thomas & Company

Contractor: Robert A. Bothman


The San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail is one of the primary trail corridors in the City of Santa Clara, providing an off-street commute and recreation opportunity as well as an urban creek experience.  The San Tomas Aquino Spur Trail is the latest phase in the expansion of this trail corridor, which has links to Saratoga Creek and connects Santa Clara with the cities of San Jose and Cupertino. The Spur Trail segment parallels San Tomas Expressway, providing bicyclists with a direct connection to El Camino Real.


Callander Associates worked closely with staff at Cabrillo Middle School to provide replacement trees along the school’s shared perimeter with the trail. The trees were located to provide sufficient screening without unduly impacting the newly constructed running track. Planting was coordinated with the prior trail phase to provide a consistent experience between the segments, as well as increase user comfort.  Signage was installed to provide direction to the newly-constructed adjacent on-street trail segment.

Commodore Park

Location: San Jose

Designer of Record: City of San Jose

Contractor: Suarez & Munoz Construction


Callander Associates’ history with Commodore Park stretches back to 2004, when we were retained by the City of San Jose to prepare design drawings for the 3 acre neighborhood park site.  Drawings were completed, but due to budget challenges, construction was deferred.  By the time the economic winds shifted in 2012, a number of project assumptions, including stormwater treatment methods, were no longer valid, necessitating a re-evaluation of some of the prior design decisions.


The project moved forward again, this time with the City as the designer of record and Callander Associates augmenting City staff efforts by drafting the plans and providing limited design review.  The arrangement worked well: our close proximity to City Hall helped to facilitate quick design and drafting meetings as the need arose, and our flexibility in staffing helped the City meet its internal deadline without being hindered by the need to hire staff or delay other project priorities.  The park had a large turn-out at the grand opening and continues to be packed on most days, with community members enjoying the turf, shaded picnic area, orchard-themed playgrounds, and group exercise area.


Written by: Marie Mai, Associate

Synthetic Turf Field Replacement: A Case Study

The Project at a Glance:

  • Project and Client: Sycamore Valley Park, Town of Danville
  • Scope of Project: Replacement of 5.2 acres of synthetic turf
  • Project duration (design through construction):  December 2011 – August 2012
  • Number of Bidders: 6              
  • Bid Range: $1.0M – $1.3M

With synthetic turf fields now firmly ‘in the mainstream’, many cities have them in their inventory of park facilities.  There’s a lot to like about them.  Maintenance is easier than a conventional turf field, they save a LOT of water, and they’re so durable they’re practically bullet proof.  They can be used from dawn till dusk, (neighbors permitting), and where lighting is included, even more!  As a result, they quickly become among the most coveted in a City’s inventory of sportsfields.  But what do you do when the fields finally wear out?  This article presents a case study.


Danville’s Sycamore Valley Park contains over 5 acres of synthetic turf dedicated primarily to soccer and baseball use but also accommodating softball, lacrosse and other uses.  Since installation in 2003 these fields saw upwards of 2300 hours of use per year!  Eventually all this use (and years of sunshine) took their toll and in places the turf fibers had been worn almost completely away.  The time had come to replace them.  The Town had options with respect to how to proceed, including negotiating directly with a vendor but ultimately chose to employ a competitive bid process.  Callander Associates was selected to assist the Town in the development of construction documents.  Plan preparation began in the end of 2011 and was completed before the end of February, 2012.  The team included Geoforensics Inc., a geotechnical engineering firm and Protech, a materials testing laboratory.   Key project considerations included;

Turf Disposal

The ‘recycleability’ of synthetic turf did not receive the attention in 2003 that it does today.  The expectation was that the used turf would go to a landfill or be re-used in ‘trickle down’ applications, like paddocks, miniature golf courses and the like.  Since these first fields were built a lot of investment has gone into identifying the most carbon neutral methods of manufacturing and disposal.  The recycled content, and recycle-ability of synthetic turf fields is much higher today and methods have been developed by enterprising contractors that allow infill material to be removed, sorted and re-used.  As the design consultant for the Sycamore project our obligation included specifying that all waste materials were disposed of in a legal manner, and establishing a budget for the disposal of this material.  Protech testing laboratories evaluated the turf and infill to determine its chemical composition and determine its waste category.  This information was then shared with a number of waste disposal facilities to determine if they could accept the material and the cost of disposal per ton.  The laboratory analysis, waste category determination and waste disposal requirements were then made a part of the contract requirements.  Disposal cost information shared by the waste disposal facilities was factored into the engineers estimate and helped in establishing the overall budget.



The prevailing wisdom in synthetic turf field design is that the fields live or die according to how well their drainage systems function.  As drainage and soil stability have an inverse relationship, there is a built in conflict in base prep.  The ideal field has been laid in to the precise grades required on the plans, without any overworking of the drainage layer (base rock).  Overworking the rock to achieve grades can result in a poorly draining field, the bane of the industry.  These same considerations come into play in replacing a worn synthetic turf field.  Replacing the synthetic turf at a sportsfield is bit akin to replacing the carpet in a home, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense if the base isn’t going to last as long as the new surface on top of it.  One of the first steps in turf replacement therefore is an evaluation of the existing drainage.  Sources of information including empirical testing (perc. tests conducted by the geotechnical engineer) and anecdotal (reports of drainage problems from first hand observers).  Perc. tests conducted at Sycamore demonstrated that the base still had excellent drainage.  Subsurface drainage lines were camera’ed to ascertain their condition and found to be intact and in good shape.  Only one spot in the field was reported to have suffered from slow drainage.  This exact spot was subjected to a perc. test and found to have adequate drainage and it has since been assumed that any standing water seen at this location may have occurred during an extreme storm event (over 10 year event) and may have been partially caused by drainage onto the field from above.  With documentation that the base was in good condition the plans called for leaving the base in place, with only minor amounts of material placed as needed to achieve planarity.  To close the loop, the plans required that the contractor ‘camera’ up to 500 feet of the drainline after their work was complete, and as selected by the Town Engineer to confirm that no pipe had been crushed as a result of construction activities.


Timing of Field Closure

As the premier soccer facility in the Town of Danville, taking the fields off-line had to done carefully.  An aggressive but achievable schedule consisting of 60 working days + 12 Saturdays was established.  The unconventional addition of Saturdays was necessitated by the Towns requirement that the field be available for the annual Mustang soccer tournament in mid-August.  Though they never needed to exercise it, the Town set liquidated damages at $3,500 per day.

Site Access

As implied previously, the base of a synthetic turf field is the single most critical component of the field.  Careless operations by the contractor can adversely impact the drainage characteristics and planarity.  A primary concern at Sycamore Valley Park was keeping the rock in the best possible condition throughout the project.  Towards this goal unique requirements were imposed, including limiting field access during turf removal to lightweight vehicles with turf tires, and specifying that vehicles were allowed only on sections of the field still covered by the old synthetic turf.   The concept is akin to ‘painting your way out of a room’.  Where vehicle travel was concentrated at the field access point steel plates were used to prevent rutting.  With an estimated 680 tons of turf and infill material to off-haul, these, and other measures were critical to the preservation of the baserock.

Turf Type Selection

As no specific turf manufacturer had been identified as preferred, meetings were held with Town staff to discuss turf criteria and identify key traits.  This information was used in preparing specifications to allow the general contractors to solicit multiple bids for the turf.  The project benefitted from a very favorable bid climate.  ‘Recession pricing’ was still in effect, the size of the project allowed for some economies of scale to be realized, and the attractiveness of the facility to vendors due to its high visibility are all thought to be contributing factors in a very competitive bid.  Pricing for the turf came in at $3.20/SF and $3.10/SF for the monofilament and slit film infields respectively.  It seems unlikely that pricing comparable to this will be seen any time in the near future and it’s not suggested to use these figures for budgeting purposes.


Contractor Qualifications

Due to the novelty of the project type, an amendment had to be made to the bid documents.  Namely, the requirement that the contractor have experience in two other turf replacement projects of equivalent size had to be dropped as none of the bidders possessed this experience at the time.  Conventional synthetic turf installation experience requirements were substituted.  It is anticipated that the original wording, requiring experience with turf replacement at two equivalent sized facilities would be a reasonable qualification requirement today.

The Completed Facility

Operations are back in full swing at Sycamore Valley Park and the new turf has been well received.  Through the combined efforts of the Town, contractor and design consultant the facility was back on line in time to host the 2012 Mustang Soccer tournament and the Town can now look forward to years of uninterrupted use on the new turf!


Written by project team members Mark Slichter and David Rubin.  This case study was one of the featured articles in the CPRS Winter 2014 Magazine!

Celebrating 40 Years!

No one could have imagined what had begun when Peter Callander finally took the leap and opened the doors of his own practice in San Mateo, California back in November of 1973. Over the years, he built upon his experience in both the public and private sectors to craft a successful, people-oriented firm with a focus on enhancing public spaces throughout local communities in Northern California. To this day, 40 years later, Callander Associates’ core philosophy remains rooted in those ideals Peter first established.

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Peter Callander – 1970′s

The founding of Callander Associates came at an opportune time during a boom in housing and waterfront development. Peter quickly established his reputation up and down the Bay Area Peninsula through word of mouth and relationships he painstakingly developed. The key to the firm’s success, Peter learned, was going to be based on maintaining those relationships as it was his complete understanding of complex public processes and capital improvement projects.

As the opportunities for new work ramped up, Callander Associates quickly grew from a humble two person team, to a bustling fifteen employee firm in only 3 years! Peter was always quick to give the credit, on the success of the firm, to his dedicated staff that were now part of the Callander family. In addition to having great people on board, Callander Associates prioritized having an organized, systematic approach to its operations, including listening to and synthesizing client’s needs. It was this pragmatic approach that became the firm’s foundation, currently reflected in our goals of project commitment, comprehensive service, and fostering community.

Landscape Architects are facilitators of communicating change and improvement. Whether it is helping a client re-imagine a park, soliciting input at a community workshop, or sketching ideas in the studio to help navigate the team’s ideas, communication comes in many forms. This communication has allowed clients and communities to visualize and more importantly realize, the transformations of their spaces.

“All of our work is about communication, and showing someone what change can do.” – Peter Callander


Semi-Retirement Party – 2011

Now “mostly” retired, Peter looks back on some of his fondest memories which all included the combination of incredible staff, diverse clients and great projects. He greatly enjoyed interacting with so many colorful Callander team members, whether ‘gently’ guiding them, or watching them experience a project’s fruition. He was also grateful for the personal relationships he developed with our clients, some which have lasted decades! Having great staff members and engaged clients directly led to countless memorable projects.

When asked to reflect on the importance of Landscape Architecture, Peter explained that anything related to the outside world is important. Knowing that every client and community is different, Callander Associates continues to place community outreach and continuous client communication at the forefront of our practice.

“I wanted to build places for everybody [and] it is so rewarding to drive around Northern California and see so many projects that we’ve worked on.” – Peter Callander

Over the past 40 years there has been growth and change, team members have come and gone and technology has advanced; but our company’s vision remains the same…  “Great people building community through exceptional service and indelible design.” We thank Peter for establishing the foundation of this great company and for giving us the roots to bring us where we are today. Callander Associates looks forward to a bright future with continuous growth for the many years ahead.


the many faces of Callander Associates over the years

“There is not a single public project that can’t benefit from a Landscape Architect’s perspective.” – Peter Callander


Going for Green: Creekside Sports Park Awards

The realization of this park is a testament to the vision of staff at the Town of Los Gatos. In 2009 the site was an abandoned telecommunications corporation yard. Today, a beautiful green park sits in its place. The Town of Los Gatos purchased the parcel in 2009 to address active, unmet recreational needs of the community. That was just the beginning. Selecting a consultant, soliciting input from the community and developing plans that met stringent regulatory requirements followed. Today, a fabulous park lies nestled at the base of the Vasona Reservoir dam in what was a commercial wasteland. This award winning park includes: a synthetic turf soccer field, a restroom/concession building, picnic space, a 41-space parking lot and a small play area.

Creekside Sports Park’s creative and effective design solutions for storm water treatment were recognized when it received two awards! This project received the SCVURPPP (Santa Clara Valley Urban Runoff Pollution Prevention Program) award, as well as the APWA (American Public Works Association) Silicon Valley Project of the Year award.

Unlike other facilities where acreage is set aside to meet storm water treatment requirements, at Creekside these requirements were integrated into the overall design. The elegance of the design comes from its simplicity and the notion of treating the water where it falls on the site. This technique had the added benefit of making the project easily implementable. Surprisingly, in many instances, the stormwater treatment requirements were satisfied before structural requirements, proving that stormwater treatment did not significantly contribute to overall project costs.

Other ‘green’ measures included provisions for a future Electric Vehicle (EV) charging station and the use of recycled tire rubber for synthetic turf infill. By incorporation of synthetic turf the need for fertilizers and pesticides was eliminated and water and energy consumption were greatly reduced as compared to a conventional park.

With the elimination of the impervious (asphalt) pavement that previously covered the site and the introduction of infiltration and biofiltration treatment techniques, the quality of storm water leaving the site is vastly improved and the quantity reduced. Ten year storm water discharge estimates show a net reduction during a 10 year event from 4.0 to 1.3 cfs. There was no surprise here, given that after project completion the amount of impervious surface decreased by 90%! What was once unavailable and of no value to the community or the environment has now been transformed into one of the Towns most highly coveted facilities, benefiting both residents and the environment.

Dave Rubin, Project Manager & Mark Slichter, Principal

Opening of the Lower Guadalupe River Trail, April 20, 2013

On a beautiful warm spring day with the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport serving as a backdrop, San Jose celebrated the opening of yet another landmark trail system.  Members of the City, Guadalupe River Park Conservancy, County, and Santa Clara Valley Water District lent a hand in cutting the ceremonial ribbon to officially open the Lower Guadalupe River Trail to the public. The event was a culmination of almost a decade-long effort to enable the community to walk or bike from Downtown San Jose to the San Francisco Bay. While a gravel surface provided public access prior to the recent improvements, the access was dusty, uncomfortable to ride on, and unfriendly to families in strollers and tricycles.  Now, new and improved, the trail is able to welcome people of all abilities to explore the river and new neighborhoods.

More than just a ribbon of asphalt for recreational use, the trail provides a convenient north-south off-street route to major technology employers located in San Jose’s Golden Triangle area. With views of the river along most of its 6.7 mile length, the trail provides a peaceful and scenic alternative for commuters who live and work near Guadalupe River.  The new paved trail also connects to the airport and other trail networks, including the Bay Trail in Alviso.

Callander Associates provided design services for the trailhead entry plazas.  Located at major street intersections, the plazas incorporate decorative paving and signage to alert passersby to the trail opportunities that lie beyond. Seatwalls and interpretive signage provide an inviting place for trail users to pause and rest.  Compass roses and in-ground lettering provide directional information while visually unifying this stretch of trail with its Downtown Guadalupe River Park counterpart.

Callander also worked with a signage designer to develop interpretive signage.  Trail users can learn about aviation, river ecology, and archaeology through interpretive signage located along the trail.  The fossilized bones of ‘Lupe,’ a juvenile Columbian mammoth nicknamed after Guadalupe River, was discovered near the current Trimble Road trailhead plaza in 2005.  Users can read about and visualize the fossil discovery at the trailhead, and then continue south along the trail to the Children’s Discovery Museum to see the actual bones.  Along the way, another interpretive plaza located by the airport explains the science of flight in signage mounted in custom-designed airplane ‘wings’.  The aluminum and acrylic wings shine in translucent brilliance, mirroring the sleek airport design beyond and the innovative community through which the Trail winds.

Marie Mai, Associate