A Community Affair

In addition to the site’s environmental challenges, an ongoing regional planning effort (which RDG is also assisting Pleasant Hill) identifies the sports complex site within the context of a larger civic campus. A comprehensive traffic analysis recommended a new east-west public road–Meacham Drive–through the sports complex site to accommodate increased traffic from the new high school, sports complex and mixed-use development proposed as part of the Civic Campus Master Plan. RDG worked closely with the city engineer to evaluate several alignment alternatives for Meacham Drive and their impact on existing environmental systems and the established sports complex program. The design team ultimately recommended that the public road be located on the north edge of the sports complex site adjacent to the new high school. This solution provided much-needed vehicular access to both the high school and sports complex, and also prevented the complex from being bisected into separate areas by Meacham Drive. “The ability to collectively manage the planning and design for the community’s multiple projects has been tremendous for the success of each piece of this puzzle,” said Rita Conner, the Director of Community Development for the city. “It has truly been a process where no stone was left unturned, from a comprehensive review of the needs to the positioning of the road to the best ability to move forward in an environmentally responsible manner.”

The Features

The net result of these environmental challenges and public infrastructure improvements reduced the land area to develop the sports complex from 60

acres to approximately 45 acres. The final program for the complex included the following components and park amenities:

· Two 300-foot baseball fields

· Two 250-foot baseball fields

· Four 200-foot baseball fields

· Two 210-foot x 360-foot soccer fields

· Three 210-foot x 315-foot soccer fields

· Sports field irrigation

· Sports field subsurface drainage

· Sports field lighting

· Two concession/restroom buildings

· Maintenance/storage building

· Four pedestrian plazas with picnic shelters

· Bioretention cells, raingardens and bioswales

· Naturalized lake

· ADA-compliant fishing pier

· Outdoor community performance pavilion

· Multi-purpose open space

· ADA-compliant, lighted, 10-foot-wide trails

· Wayfinding signage

· Native landscape plantings

· Educational signage

· Sledding hill

Back To The Drawing Board

RDG developed several concept alternatives to accommodate the desired program on the 45 acres of available land. While these did accommodate the desired number of sports fields and park amenities, many of the established core values and guiding principles were sacrificed. This resulted in the design team’s recommending that the city explore additional land opportunities to increase the size of the sports complex site. Over the next several months, RDG and the city analyzed several different strategies to increase the available land area, including property exchanges with the school district, property acquisitions from adjacent land owners and potential partnerships with adjacent land developers.

In the end, the city was able to purchase an additional 25 acres directly to the south of the initial site, effectively increasing the developable land area of the sports complex to 70 acres. Conner recalls, “There were some heart-stopping moments when the reality emerged that we were potentially looking at eliminating desired features in the complex due to space constraints. It was the feeling of being very close to a dream, but then abruptly waking up. It was the strength of the collaborative vision that brought the land negotiations to a successful outcome, and the process was able to move forward.” While the land analysis and acquisition process delayed the planning efforts of the project by several months, the end result is a unique sports complex that fulfills the desired program needs, and remains true to the established core values and guiding principles set forth for the project.

The design team then developed and presented multiple master-plan options to the steering committee, facilitating several public forums to obtain feedback. Pleasant Hill then entered into a 28E Agreement with the district, an agreement to provide the school district access to open space at the sports complex for physical education classes and extracurricular activities in exchange for access to the high school parking lot areas during events. This resource-sharing arrangement substantially reduced the amount of parking needed on the sports complex site, effectively increasing the land area available for recreation purposes.

Coming Soon …

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