Latest News

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 Boulevard Awarded 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

From a Vision to Reality : City College Ped/Bicycle 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

Sustainable, Livable and Beautiful: Heritage, an Active Adult Community


Heritage El Dorado Hills project is an active adult community located in El Dorado Hills Ca.  As “baby boomers” reach retirement age they desire to move out of high cost of living areas to find locations that allow them to stretch their retirement funds. They also desire to live in communities that are centered around their peers and lifestyles.  El Dorado Hills, with its natural beauty, great location in the center of California and close proximity to shopping, health care, restaurants and other amenities has made it a successful location for both planning and now building these communities.


Callander Associates was hired as the project landscape architect to design all of the landscape areas including the streetscapes, common areas, amenity center, trail systems and model homes.   From the beginning, two major goals were established for the landscape design; first was to create a community that showcases amenities that better represent the residents needs and secondly, create a unique sustainable landscape that transports residents to an environment that represents their own identity and sense of place.  Everything was scaled and designed to give the residents a feel like they are entering their own private estate in the sierra foothills.


The Fitness Clubhouse “The Retreat” is the centerpiece of phase one and operates as the sales center and beginning of the model home tour.  Highlights of the Fitness Clubhouse include an enclosed pool with retractable roof, a main “central green” that steps down from the building and integration of many other active and passive amenities grouped together on the site.  The site was purposefully placed along one of the many natural open space corridors that flow through the development to allow extended views and also access to the internal multi-use trail system.  Residents of the neighboring active adult community provided input on the design such as; three tennis courts to allow tournament tennis play, separate pickle ball courts and larger flexible gathering spaces for group events. Multi-functional spaces allow for areas to be used as a private yoga courtyard with bubbling fountains that then transforms into night event gathering spaces where one can sit by the fireplace with friends. The large central green is sized to accommodate a large tent for bigger events.  Simple things like requests for more shade were reflected in the many shade shelters incorporated into the final project.


Drawing inspiration from the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, the designs of the community monumentation, Fitness Clubhouse, and planting successfully blend the look and feel of Santa Barbara with the native beauty of the surrounding California foothills.  Almost the entire planting palette is low or very low water use as designated by WUCOLs with palm, pine and oak trees artfully integrated to provide the backbone of the landscape design.  The only lawn area in the entire project is located in the “Central Green” at the Fitness Clubhouse.  Architectural elements include contrasting materials of board form concrete walls and white stucco with natural materials of stone, rock, decomposed granite and corten steel.  Accents of Peacock blue tiles, brick and glazed pots highlight entrances and focal points in the landscape.


During the design process the drought and subsequent water restrictions were implemented and validated many of the early design decisions made to encourage sustainability throughout the project.  None of the new homes will have grass in their front yards and even the designs of the back yards will be strictly regulated to meet a landscape water budget which is more restrictive than the State’s Water Efficiency Landscape Requirements. To help future homeowners visualize these goals, the model homes were designed with back yards that do not contain natural turf but highlight the use of alternative surfaces such as pavers, decomposed granite and artificial turf.  This project will be a premier example of water conservation in a large scale residential setting.


Ben Woodside, Principal in the Rancho Cordova Office and Melissa Ruth, Project Manager

We Love Our Great People!

QuoteIt’s not by coincidence that our Vision Statement starts with “Great People”. The success that we have enjoyed as a firm and the exceptional service provided to our clients begins with our dedicated team. It is our great people that make our company what it is and we are proud to announce and recognize a few recently promoted team members!

Meet your Project Managers in the San Mateo Office!

NRwebNate Ritchie: Nate has been part of Callander Associates off and on since 2002. During that period he took some time to explore his other passions including organic farming and computer science but has since returned to Landscape Architecture being more well-rounded and with a renewed focus.  Nate possesses a unique combination of deep environmental awareness and computer skills both of which can be seen in his project work, including his efforts in realizing a new entrance for Castle Rock State Park and his leadership in establishing office standards for CAD and project coordination.








PCDwebPierre Chin-Dickey: Since joining Callander 3 years ago, Pierre has continually risen to meet the increasing challenges facing our projects today from complex permitting and funding requirements to implementation of AB 1881 and water conservation efforts. His high quality graphics and design skills have provided our clients with a greater understanding of proposed improvements along with the reassurance that project goals have been artfully achieved. In addition, Pierre’s passion for immersive travel has provided him rich  cultural and urban experiences.  Those experiences have fostered his design aesthetic and increased his focus on streetscape and urban design projects.







Meet your Job Captain’s in San Mateo & Rancho Cordova

zk-webZach Katz (San Mateo): Zach joined us in 2012, and since has proven himself to be a very versatile team member, contributing to everything from plan preparation and visual simulations to construction detailing and development of plans in compliance with Bay Friendly Design Guidelines. Zach’s passion for sustainable design has been fostered while at Callander Associates our projects have benefitted from that focus. Zach’s expertise in the use of cutting edge rendering platforms has been key to the development of very high quality graphics.






BC-webBrenna Castro (Rancho Cordova): Brenna  joined Callander in 2013 and has been setting high design standards not only for our office but for the Landscape Architecture industry as well. She has contributed her expertise on a variety of projects including; parks, trails, and historic civic sites. In the short time she has been with us she has developed great relationships with clients, become our resident plant expert and a mentor to other staff members. She is also a certified Playground Safety Inspector and currently holds the Secretary position for the ASLA Sierra Chapter.





We look forward to seeing these four grow within the industry as well as the rest of our extraordinary staff who continually push the limits of design and provide exceptional service to our clients. We love our Great People!

– Sonja Ditto, Human Resources Manager

Kennedy Park Master Plan: Approved!

Kennedy Park is Napa’s largest Community park, covering approximately 200 acres. Callander Associates has been working with the Napa Parks and Recreation Services Department to develop a strategic planning tool that will provide clear direction and a vision for future planning and development of this large recreation amenity.

After a year of community workshops and stakeholder meetings, we are pleased to announce that the Napa’s City Council approved the Master Plan and is so excited about it that they are going to push to get it implemented right way…which came as a nice surprise to City Staff! To view more on this project, check out the latest press release from the Napa Valley Register.

Project Staff include: Melissa Ruth (Project Manager), Brenna Castro (Designer) & Amal Iqbal (Designer)

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. Click here to view the article. 

We could not be more excited on this exposure for the Oak Park Community and the City of Sacramento! For more information on this project, click here.



The First for Turf: Rumrill Park in San Pablo

On Tuesday, September 8th the City of San Pablo held the ribbon cutting ceremony for Rumrill Park, the City’s first synthetic turf soccer facility. The road from conception to completion of construction had been a long one. The City and their design team persevered through a number of hurdles, including the dissolution of the City Redevelopment Agency and difficulties in remediating the contaminated site, before successfully completing construction.


The road to construction started back in the late 2000’s when the City of San Pablo’s Redevelopment Department identified the Rumrill property as a potential park site. The residents of San Pablo were in dire need of more park space – with only a 1/2 acre or park space per every 1,000 residents.  In 2011 Callander Associates assisted the City in conducting a successful public outreach campaign to determine what the citizens felt were their greatest park needs. Based on input received from the public outreach the Rumrill Park concept plan was created identifying three lighted synthetic turf youth soccer fields and a practice area, a playground, picnic area, restrooms, and parking. The concept plan and public comments were utilized to apply for a Proposition 84 grant to secure funding for the park. The grant rewards were released in 2012 and Rumrill Park received a 3 million dollar grant! With the addition of Measure WW funds and funding provided by the City itself, the table was set to make this project a reality.

The City’s environmental consultant, Ninyo & Moore, worked with the Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) to produce a Soils Removal Work Plan. The approved plan proposed two options:

  1. removal of all contaminated soils
  2. removal of the top layer of soils and capping the site

Option 1 was chosen by the City to minimize future maintenance and liability. The design for the fields was based on total removal and the project went out to bid in January 2014. After the project was awarded and construction had begun, the first round of construction soil samples came in with much higher than expected levels of contamination. More samples were taken and it was discovered that the amount of contaminated soil that would need to be removed was double to triple the amount determined from initial soil samples.


So what do you do when a project is under construction and it’s discovered that the project costs might double? On this project, the City and design team worked together to find a solution to keep costs down. We went back to the DTSC to see if we could change the design mid-stream and cap the site instead of totally removing all contaminated soils. Construction stopped while we worked through the DTSC process, but we got DTSC to approve the design change! Callander and their sub-consultants set back to work to re-design the project to account for capping the site instead of designing for a clean site and, after a delay in construction, the contractor was back to work.


When construction ended earlier this month, the end result was a beautiful 3 acre synthetic turf soccer facility with restrooms, a picnic area, playground, food kiosk, parking and low-maintenance landscaping. The synthetic turf field stretches from property line to property line to allow for maximum use by the youth of San Pablo for years to come.

Matt Gruber, Project Manager

Elk Grove Multi-Sports Complex: What we did over the Holidays!

Over the holidays, spanning from mid-November to mid-January, Callander Associates was part of a large team charged with the fast paced development of a master plan for a multi-sports complex for the City of Elk Grove.  The City had recently acquired a large 100 acre parcel and was moving forward to solidify the vision and potential costs of the project.  After many late nights and weekends and countless meetings and cell phone calls over the busy holidays, it proved to be an exciting process and really showcases what can be accomplished when a talented group of people all work together towards the same goal.


Working with user groups, stakeholders and City staff a conceptual site design was developed and presented to City Council for approval on January 28th, 2015.  The plan includes 16 multi-purpose sports fields, with 12 full-sized soccer fields and 4 training fields.  Field types are comprised of mostly sand based natural grass with a few proposed as synthetic turf. A 9,000 seating capacity stadium is proposed for the north third of the project with supporting parking, academy, stage and other facilities.  The rest of the site includes additional amenities such as playgrounds, restrooms, shade structures, par course with running path, drainage facilities, practice areas and a re-purposed maintenance building.


The City’s vision is to provide the first elite amateur and professional level soccer training and field complex in northern California.  It will provide high quality fields and facilities necessary to attract and host international, national and regional tournament competitions, camps, clinics and showcase events.


The site’s orientation relative to north was a primary design driver for the conceptual site plan.  This meant rotating the fields approximately 45 degrees relative to the property lines.  The resultant triangles created by the rotated fields led to great opportunities for the other supporting uses such as parking and playgrounds.  The needed 3,000 parking spaces are spread around the site to provide better field access and are serviced by a perimeter road.


Major site planning challenges included anticipating the future build-out of the large right-of-way for Grant Line Road and the new signal at Waterman Road.  Most of the access would come from this intersection and required careful study and design options for the parking controls and circulation of the site.   Other challenges included sensitivities to neighbors in regards to lighting, access for large trucks and anticipating future expansion of the project and planning for the area.

Ben Woodside, Principal

Credit for the above models goes to our great Callander Team: Dave Rubin, Pierre Chin-Dickey and Zach Katz!