Vista View

In the last few years, we have faced new environmental concerns in a world made aware of the need for “green living,” “green building” and other environmentally conscious initiatives. The city of Chandler, Ariz., is participating in this issue by taking on its second environmentally oriented project in reclaiming and reshaping the landscape of a former landfill to create a new vision for a premier park with recreational gems.

Reclaiming a landfill to create a park.

Developing municipal parks from former refuse sites has been successful in other parts of the country, so the city embraced the concept when its only landfill closed in November 2005. Since then, the city’s Solid Waste Services, Environmental Management and Parks divisions have worked together along with contractors, Environmental Planning Group (EPG) Landscape Architects and Valley Rain Construction, to design and develop the Paseo Vista Recreation Area, a special-use park. The park will provide views of the entire city and SoutheastValley, and create several unique recreational activities–all while embracing an environmental functionality and safety awareness for the former landfill.

Creating The Vision

Located on a 64-acre site that contains more than 2 million tons of compacted trash that will continue to decompose, Paseo Vista is a $12.8-million park development project, funded through the sale of General Obligation Bonds that was approved by voters in May 2004. The park will be a new landmark and popular gathering place for residents to enjoy amenities like archery lanes, a disc-golf course, a bark park, a playground, picnic ramadas and a network of trails.

After nearly a year of construction, the wait will soon be over for surrounding neighborhood residents–who also had input throughout the design process–to ascend to the top of Paseo Vista Recreation Area.

“Paseo Vista’s amenities and activities are meant to yield a lower volume of traffic, and consist of limited night-time lighting, given the proximity of several neighborhoods and the Chandler Municipal Airport down the street,” says Don Tolle, Park Planning Superintendent. “Since it is in a flight path and surrounded by residential communities, there are no traditional sports fields, as it is designed in a dawn-to-dusk park fashion.”

Carving A New Path For An Old Site

The former landfill was opened in the early 1980s on a site considered to be in the extreme southern portion of the city. By the time it closed in 2005, several residential communities hugged its eastern and southern borders. Federal regulations set in the 1990s mandated that measures be put in place to sample groundwater and monitor for contamination, while ensuring that gases don’t escape into the surrounding neighborhoods.

When redeveloping a landfill, there are environmental factors that must be addressed as well as landscaping conditions that must be met. The productive collaboration among the city’s various divisions, EPG and contractor was further benefited by the partners’ specialization in developing municipal parks. Valley Rain even had experience working on other projects that included or were adjacent to landfills.

“The potential for the Paseo Vista was terrific,” says David Wilson, Senior Landscape Architect for Phoenix-based EPG. “The city and all of the development partners recognized that early on, once the landfill closure plan was in place. The distinction between a traditional park and this unique recreation area was made for this site due to the different features involved and the new experiences and expectations that will be generated by Paseo Vista.”

Page 1 of 3 | Next page

Related posts:

  1. Vista View
  2. A Metropolitan Mecca
  3. Reflections Of A River
  4. Roll Out The Pink Carpet
  5. FabriTec Structures–Project Portfolio
  • Columns
  • Departments
  • Issues