Preserving the Past: 771 North Rengstorff Park

In 2013 the City of Mountain View received an unlikely phone call.  A longtime resident wanted to sell her 1.2 acre property, located in a neighborhood sorely lacking community open space, to the City.  City Council jumped at the opportunity, purchased the property and directed staff to develop a passive park that preserved the historical and agricultural character of the site.  Additionally, it was determined that this park site would serve as the future home for the Immigrant House.  This historic structure built in 1888 provided shelter for newly arrived immigrants seeking the American dream.


Callander Associates led a series of meetings designed to fully engage the community in the design process and to build a sense of ownership for the project.  All meetings were well attended and provided participants the opportunity to influence program development, voice opinions, identify concerns and opportunities, and in the end evaluate the pro’s and con’s of various design solutions.  Our group utilized a variety of techniques during the process including prioritization exercises, questionnaires, inspiration imagery, and high quality illustrative graphics to maximize input and understanding of the proposed improvements.  As the process moved to Council it was heartening to see many community members speak glowingly of the process, the consensus that it built within the community, and ultimately spoke in support of the project.  It was easy for Council to approve the plan and for the project to move forward towards implementation.


The resulting design is community based and firmly rooted in the preservation of Mountain View’s past.  The Immigrant House is being restored to reflect how it looked during its period of significance and will serve as the park’s focal point.  Surrounding the house will be a series of community and demonstration garden spaces including kitchen gardens, bird and butterfly gardens, and access restricted bee hives for added pollinators. The addition of a display windmill and interpretive signage further enhance the agrarian heritage of the site. The remainder of the wooded site is being preserved as open space to the greatest extent possible; however trees will be limbed up and thinned in places to enhance views from Rengstorff Ave into and around the park.  Access will be provided through a looping trail system, bench seating and limited picnic spaces.  Construction documents are currently being developed for a projected start of construction in winter of 2016.

Dave Rubin, Project Manager, has received lots of praise from the Community and the City for this project! Go Dave!

July 9, 2015 at 10:31 pm