Latest News

Coming Soon: New Look, Same Great People!

Happy new year everyone. Last year marked a significant anniversary at Callander Associates, 45 years in practice, wow! Since Peter Callander founded the company back in 1973, we have been focused on building community through our work, providing exceptional service to our clients, and creating timeless indelible designs.  We do this by supporting and developing our great people to become the best they can be both personally and professionally. We are very proud of our heritage and these values that Peter instilled in all of us. However, we feel it is time to also look towards the future of our practice.

In the early part of 2019 we will be introducing a new website to better showcase our company culture, our value-added services we provide for our clients, and our group of incredibly talented individuals. This has been no easy task and we are extremely excited that we will get the chance, very soon, to show you again who we are in a fresh new package.

As part of this we want to introduce you to our new logo. We wanted our logo to be a reflection of who we are … colorful, friendly, and approachable. You will also notice we have abbreviated our name to CALA. We did this in order to speak to our heritage while recognizing our changing practice, leadership and the diversity of services we provide. We hope you like it as much as we do.

Brian Fletcher, President

Making the News! Downtown Watsonville Complete Streets Plan

The Downtown Watsonville Complete Streets Plan, one of CALA’s current projects, was recently featured in Santa Cruz County’s and Monterey County’s local news channel, KION.  KION covered the efforts of the City of Watsonville, with support from CALA and the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission, tabling together at Watsonville’s 24th annual Strawberry Festival to host one of several community outreach booths to gather the community’s concerns and wishes for improving multi-modal access to and through the Downtown. Outreach efforts included the use of interactive virtual reality visualizations to better communicate the proposed design alternatives.

CALA was selected by the City of Watsonville to prepare a Complete Streets plan for their downtown. The plan will provide a roadmap to make Downtown Watsonville’s streets safer and more accessible for all modes of transportation – including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and motorists. The project is on track to be finished by Spring 2019. Stay tuned for more updates.

Kelly Kong, Designer in the San Jose Office

Powered By You! Springlake and Rick Gonzales Sr. Parks

Park design is often a collaboration of the wants and needs of the neighborhood it resides in. City staff embraced the challenges set forth by the community for the two newest parks in the Springlake neighborhood of Woodland, Ca. Callander Associates was charged with making their vision a reality. Plans for both parks were developed from input from the community over many public workshops and outreach efforts. Through that process, the designs of the park changed to meet the wants and needs of the neighbors.

After rain delayed the two Grand Openings to Woodlands newest parks, anticipation grew. For the two late afternoon openings of Springlake Park and Rick Gonzales Sr. Park in April, the City was met with large crowds of happy and hungry patrons. Both parks were filled with not only the new amenities but food, ice cream, face painting and other fun activities.

Springlake Park was the first to cut the ribbon. This park has been a build it, they will come concept. Roads did not yet exist when the park was conceived and designed. Now, just 3 years after the designs were developed with community input, roads are paved and residents have moved in. Just like the community surrounding it, the park will expand to a full 7.5 acres once homes around it are completed. Two concepts were presented to the neighbors with similar amenities but vastly different spatial arrangements. The community wanted less lawn and more natural open space. Concepts were revised to reflect that change.

This park features two large teardrop shaped landforms called Drumlins that signify movement and creation of space. They are planted with native grasses and create a fun feature for kids to expand creative play. As the park expands to future phase, the landforms will provide transition from the traditional park space to a natural and explorative play experience. Besides the multi-use field, tot lot and picnic area currently constructed, the park will include a picnic shelter, school age play structure, half basketball court, restrooms, creek play element, native plantings, bike path and nature trails.

Rick Gonzales Sr. Park

During the first public workshop, which brought out many folks to the “standing-room-only” meeting, the neighbors requested the whole 10 acres be reserved for parkland. The original zoning for the area included 2 acres for commercial development. Through the public process, it was determined that the park could include the entire 10 acre parcel. Although budget allowed for only 8 acres in the first phase, the neighbors were happy their voices were heard. The completed park includes a perimeter path and running trail, fitness stations, large picnic shelter, restroom, sand play area, informal ballfields, non-traditional playground complete with rocks and ropes course and a zipline. Future phase will include a basketball court, tennis courts and parking lot. Dedication of the park was made for to a local community leader (Rick Gonzales Sr.) and a Mariachi Band played as the ribbon was “cut”. A fitting way to celebrate progress and the power of community!

 -Melissa Ruth, Associate in our Gold River Office          




Winters PG&E Facility: LEEDing the Way

As we begin 2018 it’s only fitting to start it off by showcasing the newly completed, state of the art, LEED Silver, PG&E Gas Safety Academy facility located in Winters!

From the groundbreaking ceremony in November 2015 to the grand opening in the fall of 2017, it has been exciting to see this project become a benchmark for placemaking in a live + work setting.

Since the site is visible from both HWY 505 and E Grant Ave (the main collector through town) architectural scale, material selection and lighting all needed to integrate this new 40-acre facility into the fabric of Winters.  The facility is also bordered by the sensitive riparian zone of the City’s beloved Putah Creek corridor.

To address the unique location of the facility, the project includes:

  • Buildings scaled down and pushed toward the road.
  • Paths tied to the City’s pedestrian network.
  • Plant selections specifically tailored for each condition including screening views, accenting entries and blending edges while still maximizing the use of native species.
  • A new drainage easement was included to provide the City with future access to the Putah Creek trail.
  • The landscape around the building creates an inviting environment for small group meetings, outdoor learning and lunch breaks
  • Use of sustainable practices include drought tolerant plants, efficient irrigation system that communicates with the building system to monitor total water usage, native seed mix sourced
  • from the local native seed nursery, rainwater collection system incorporated into the aesthetic design and recycled content for furnishings. This contributed to the LEED silver designed facility.

Our scope of work included site planning assistance, visual simulation modeling, preliminary design, public outreach, planting design, irrigation design, LEED, and construction assistance.

Melissa Ruth, Associate in the Gold River office.

Architect: Dreyfuss + Blackford
Photography: David Wakely

Park(ing) Day 2017 : Flexing our Design Muscles

Most of our day-to-day work involves designing outdoor spaces in the public sphere, where existing conditions, adjacent uses, regulations, practical considerations, and community wants and needs all influence the design. We pride ourselves on our expertise in turning these constraints into opportunities, but it’s a fact of life for us that no site is truly a blank canvas. So when we do have the chance to flex our design muscles in a different way to create something from nothing, it’s a fun challenge that’s hard to resist.

Since Park(ing) Day first began with a single parallel stall in downtown San Francisco in 2005, it has blossomed into an annual one-day worldwide celebration of public space. Park(ing) Day examines how a single parking stall, which would normally be occupied by just a single private vehicle, could be reconceived as a community asset that serves the public and enhances the pedestrian experience. In Sacramento, the ASLA CA Sierra Chapter supports this movement by hosting Sacramento United Park(ing) Day, an event that brings together the local design community to take over all the parking stalls on a single block. It is always inspiring to see the vision that our fellow landscape architects, planners, architects, engineers, and artists share for Sacramento’s public sphere. This year’s event was Saturday, September 16th and was located just outside the front steps to the Capitol building in downtown Sacramento.

Our blank canvas was a parallel parking stall in downtown Sacramento, which the Callander Associates Gold River team temporarily transformed into a mini-park. Building on this year’s theme of “Creative Capitol,” we focused on an aspect of Sacramento that helps to define the character of the city and that we, as landscape architects, profoundly appreciate – its robust, beautiful, and vibrant urban forest. Sacramento’s longtime moniker “City of Trees” (despite recent rebranding as the “Farm-to-Fork Capital”) reflects how important the urban forest is to the city and its residents. And in discussing urban public space and the pedestrian experience, trees are a factor that can’t be overlooked. For our installation, a double-stacked row of trees (donated by Village Nurseries), we created a feeling of enclosure and a shady spot to rest. Meanwhile, bright colors, string art, and the opportunity to “yarn bomb” the installation invited visitors to express their creativity. In the spirit of giving back to the community, we held a raffle so that some lucky visitors could bring home one of the beautiful trees from the installation and nurture their own slice of the City of Trees.

We had a blast at Park(ing) Day 2017! Read on for some favorite moments from the CALA team.

I enjoyed interacting with people of all different ages and talking with them about the importance of trees in the built environment. It was fun to see kids and adults interact with the parklet by hanging up pom-poms they created. -Amanda Holtman, Designer

Park(ing) day for Callander Associates was a team effort from conception to packing up the last tree. Being part of the team, I really enjoyed collaborating on the concept designs, brainstorming how to translate the theme into a functional parklet, gathering the supplies and building the parklet. As  landscape architects and park designers, we wanted to stay true to our passion by creating a place that was creative, active and fun. We were successful in creating an environment that reflected that. For my two boys, Park(ing) Day was a fun experience where they got to explore many types of recreation. To them, the whole place was a playground!  -Melissa Ruth, Associate

My favorite interaction I had at Parking Day came about after an unsuccessful attempt at encouraging a woman to put her name into our raffle for a chance to take home a tree. It turned out that she was in Sacramento for the weekend visiting her daughter, and the home that she was returning to was on the same street as my parents’ house in Western Massachusetts!  Cameron Roach, Designer

It was fascinating to see the willingness of different people to play with the colorful yarn and to make changes to the space. Some people dove in and zig-zagged yarn all over the place, some shied away, and some (especially kids) just wanted to make a pom-pom to take home. One young visitor in particular kept coming back to make more pom-poms. She proudly hung the first one in a tree, but the rest were just for her. -Brenna Castro, Job Captain

It was awesome how excited people were to take home one of the trees from the raffle. They were all smiles when they came back to pick up their tree, even when we helped them load the 10’ tall Platanus into their subcompact cars – who can say no to a free tree? – Ben Woodside, Principal

Brenna Castro, Job Captain in our Gold River Office

Moving on Up : Meet our Associates

Associate, Melissa Ruth (Gold River Office)

Since joining Callander in 2004, Melissa has been the Project Manager on a variety of projects including parks, trails, open space, landfills, residential development and even active adult communities. Melissa is very passionate about Community based designs. She has the exceptional ability to visualize, communicate and create unique designs that have made a lasting impact on numerous Communities. When asked what she does for a living, she tells people she’s a “Park-itect” because that’s easier than explaining what a Landscape Architect actually does. When she takes a break from the daily grind, she enjoys DIY projects on her home and yard, and playing heroes and villains with her two sons and husband.

Associate, Dave Rubin (San Jose Office)

Dave also joined Callander in 2004 and since his first day hit the ground running! He worked himself up from Designer to Project Manager at a very quick pace and hasn’t stopped since. Dave’s commitment to each of his projects combined with his exceptional management and communication skills has been invaluable for his clients. It’s no wonder that he has managed, overseen and designed over 90 projects in the last 13 years!  When he steps away from the office, Dave enjoys playing outside with my kids and trying out fun new restaurants with his wife.

We are looking forward to seeing both Dave and Melissa continue to grow in their new roles as mentors and leaders of our CALA family.

Sonja Ditto, HR Manager

Penitencia Creek Trail, Reach 1 is a Reality!

At long last, Penitencia Creek Trail, Reach 1 is a reality!  With the completion of the trail in 2016, San Jose citizens have much to celebrate.  This 1/2 mile link in the Penitencia Creek Trail completes the connection to Alum Rock Park, a favorite weekend destination.  The implementation of this trail is a testament to trail advocates everywhere.  The trail had long been planned, with evidence of it to be found in the City of San Jose’s Greenprint, a trail visioning document first published by the city in 2000.  The value of this segment was well known then; to provide a connection to Alum Rock Park and as a key link in the system of trails connecting the Bay Area Ridge Trail with the San Francisco Bay Trail.  The trail came one step closer to reality when Callander was retained to prepare the Master Plan that would define the alignment, identify the challenges to implementation and develop practical solutions that could be employed to carry the project forward.  The Master Plan was adopted in October 2006.

Fast forward to 2009 and Callander Associates is again involved with the project, this time as a subconsultant to CH2M.  Our involvement was key in developing appropriate solutions (mitigation) to offset the impacts to this highly sensitive corridor.  Measures included replacement plantings to compensate for tree removals where they were unavoidable.  In other areas special provisions were made, including ‘floating’ boardwalks to minimize the impact to the roots of the magnificent California Sycamores lining the creek.

In total, Callanders involvement with this trail project spans over 10 years.  Remarkably, the same CA personnel were there to see it all the way through to completion!  Now, how’s that for perseverance?

Mark Slichter, Principal in Burlingame Office

Saddle Up and Ride into Osage Station Park


Imagine if you could go back in time to the Wild West? You are racing the train down the rail corridor on your beloved horse when the train comes to a halt at a little station. You are immediately drawn to the quaintness of this town and curiosity leads you down the main road. As you ride over to find a place to draw up your horse you are greeted with smiles, hat tipping and curtsies by several locals. All of a sudden you see a dust cloud coming through the town lead by a slew of horses..and you realize CRIMANY, it’s a STAMPEDE!


Okay, so I let my imagination run wild with this theme, but I expect that I am not the only one when it comes to Osage Station Park! Located in Danville, the park is only a short distance from the Iron Horse Regional Trail, and as the name implies, this trail was once a rail corridor. It was the presence of the railway that provided the original theme for the park.


Originally built by the County prior to the Town’s incorporation, the park offered something for everyone, including athletic fields, play areas, a water feature, picnic areas and a rose garden. As the park matured, its attractiveness only increased, but changes in the regulatory climate dictated that changes to the park had to follow. The water feature which was in the middle of the play area had to be shut down, rendering a large area of the park unusable and as such was the “tipping point” to undertake a substantial renovation. The renovation afforded the Town the opportunity to address some programmatic deficiencies as well.


Osage’s play area felt a bit like an old Hollywood movie set complete with an Old West Town façade.  Made of wood, the play area was long on charm but a little short on durability. To make matters more challenging, other themes had crept into the scene, diluting the original concept. During the community outreach process, the plan for the play area quickly coalesced…the ‘old west’ theme would be restored!


Now children can let their imaginations run wild again in an inclusive, sustainable and safe play area. A number of thematic elements were introduced to strengthen the old west theme, including:

  • The tot area was modeled after an old western train station, complete with clock tower, passenger platform and play train.
  • The youth play area is a rambling old town with a bank, hotel, saloon and jail.
  • Complementary pieces include an embankment slide, mining themed spring rider, flashing railroad crossing arms, climbing barrels and a rubber surfaced “mesa” for kids to scramble on.

To create a space that can compete with all the distractions that children face today is no small feat.  Though TV was the goliath of the past, today TV pales in comparison to any number of small, portable handheld digital devices.  Though the ‘digital divide’ continues to narrow, the tendency of digital devices to only divide us further from the real world continues to grow. Creating spaces that engage the senses and the spirit has become more important than ever and Osage Station Park provides such an opportunity.


The setting is pure magic and allows for engaging in play with others, engaging the imagination, and engaging in the glory of nature for little and big pioneers alike! Are you ready to saddle up and ride into Osage Station Park?

Article written by: Mark Slichter, Principal and Sonja Ditto, Business Development Manager

Hacienda Blvd : Greenroads Silver Certificate


Though the concept of Green Streets has been with us for at least a decade now, there are still very few that have been built.   We’re honored and pleased to have teamed with the Town of Campbell in seeing one of the biggest Green Streets in the Bay Area come ‘on-line’.  The improvements along Hacienda Avenue extend for almost a mile, and redirect the runoff from over 5 acres of pavement to treatment areas.  This simple measure yields huge benefits to the environment by moderating stormwater runoff volume, decreasing sediment and oils deposited in the bay and reducing downstream streambed water temperatures.  We’re pleased that this project is the very first of its kind in California to be awarded a Greenroads Silver Certificate.   Click here to read more about this projects certification.


To read more about the design process and how this project began, click here.

Brian Fletcher, Principal

Vision to Reality : City College Ped/Bike Bridge

Bridging communities and transit-oriented development were the key themes at the Grand Opening Ceremony for the Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge on May 25th, 2016. This bridge, with a unique arch design (only the second of its kind in California), attracted people from all around the community who didn’t want to miss the opportunity to walk or bike alongside City officials, local politicians and community leaders; as well as bragging rights to be the first to walk across this new landmark in the City of Sacramento. Much of the crowd, including myself and my family, started at Sacramento City College in front of the existing Light Rail Station, while others started from the Curtis Park side east of the railroad tracks. As we walked across the 50 yard bridge span, we passed the group coming from the east; there on the bridge we collectively acknowledged how truly impactful it was to bridge these communities.

This project was funded by federal transportation funds and Callander Associates is honored to have collaborated with engineers, architects, and City staff on the design of this very unique project. The pedestrian and bicycle bridge and ramp system span both Regional Transit and Union Pacific Railroad lines providing both the west side (Sacramento City College Campus) and the East Side (the new Curtis Park infill project) a safe vehicular free alternative transportation route.

With many stakeholders involved in the project it was important to provide visual examples of the bridge and ramp designs to show the impacts to the two sides of the bridge. Callander Associates was successful in modeling the bridge design to gain buy off from the various stakeholders which ultimately became a cohesive design that blends well with both sides of the ramp.

Want to see more on this project, click here to read the article written in the Sacramento City Express.

Melissa Ruth, Project Manager in the Sacramento Office