Ocotillo Park, Cathedral City

Status: Awarded
Award Type: Parks & Recreation Project

Project Information

Name: Ocotillo Park, Cathedral City
Company: David Evans and Associates, Inc.
Project Location:

Cathedral City

Project Photo:
Project Description:

In May of 2011, Cathedral City obtained grant funding from the State of California to provide master planning, Proposition 84 grant coordination, conceptual design, and construction documents for a 5-acre neighborhood park. Working closely with the city appointed grant writer, a plan was developed for active recreation facilities while considering incorporating sustainable features such as recycled materials, solar lighting, ‘Smart Irrigation’ techniques, and drought tolerant plant material. The park features playgrounds and picnic areas, walking paths, a softball field with soccer field overlay, basketball courts, a parking lot, plaza space, picnic shelters, a skatepark, fitness stations, and a restroom building.

Project Justification:

Sustainable design practices were sought out throughout the design process. The steel shade structures and play equipment utilized recycled steel as part of their manufacturing process; the rubber play surfacing also utilized recycled materials. Recycled concrete was used for the concrete benches, while the storm drain piping was manufactured using applicable recycled materials. All on site paving, including the parking lot, has a solar reflective index of at least 29 to help minimize the urban heat island affect. Security light posts with LED lights throughout the site are powered by solar panels. The irrigation system utilizes smart irrigation technology with point source drip irrigation, moisture and wind sensors, as well as real time irrigation scheduling adjustment based upon the local weather. Plant material is appropriate for the low desert climate and is drought tolerant. Decomposed granite and rock cobble used as a mulch material helps maintain soil moisture as well as mitigates resources for weed abatement to assist with park maintenance. Shade trees and shade canopies over the play and fitness areas and the picnic areas, baseball dugouts, and baseball bleachers further control reflective heat and ambient temperatures for park users. The restroom building utilizes low flow water fixtures and a septic system makes use of the sites’ high soil permeability rates and reduces the impact to the local sewer system. The high percolation rate also made drywells highly effective in reducing storm-water runoff, increasing infiltration, and reducing pollutants from off street flows while complying with NPDES regulations.

The 5-acre lot had been part of the community for decades and was used as an open play space by the neighborhood kids. Prior to being zoned for park land, the parcel was planned to include single family homes. Some of the initial construction including foundations and utilities had already been installed. A street was planned to bisect the lot to serve the homes that were to be constructed. The construction never took place and the lot remained vacant and neglected for years. A small detention basin occupied the eastern side of the site and collected nuisance water as well as storm water during rain events. The site also received a significant amount of storm water from the residential community north of Ocotillo Road. During significant rain events, the neighborhood east of the site was prone to flooding due to the low capacity of the on-site basin to retain flows.

The construction of the park greatly improved the quality of life in the neighborhood by providing a safe place for the community to enjoy active and passive recreation. Families spend time in the park which has a unifying effect on the neighborhood. There are a variety of activities on-site and the neighborhood has taken great pride in a project where their direct involvement through community outreach is evident.

Increasing the site’s ability to mitigate flooding concerns, by increasing its capacity to store and filter water, has also improved the community. The streets are safer following significant rain events because there is no longer standing water, and neighbors on the east side of the park no longer have to worry about property damage due to flooding.

Special Circumstances:

The design process included multiple public outreach meetings where the public could provide comments about the park while it was being designed. Organizations, like the local AYSO and Pony League, participated in those meetings. In addition, social media was used to reach out to the local skate community regarding the design of the skate plaza. The response was robust and the input was used to develop the components that were ultimately placed in the park. As a result, the skate community came out in large crowds on opening day where a local DJ provided music to skate by. The overall process in bringing various stakeholder groups together to support a project which would meet their differing needs was a huge success!

Site flooding and storm water mitigation was a significant challenge during park design. The design intent was to eliminate the walled basin structure in the park and increase the overall holding capacity, without making it a walled or fenced structure taking up valuable park space. Approximately half of the park site is depressed in a subtle basin feature that holds water during significant storm events. The baseball and soccer field are both within this depressed area. In order to mitigate the impact of nuisance water and low flow situations,  dry wells were installed throughout the site to direct onsite and offsite flows underground where they infiltrate the soil and provide groundwater recharge. In a 100-year storm event, the park fills than ultimately flows north into an overflow system that is connected to a newly constructed storm drain line in Via De Anza on the north side of the park.

Project Attachments:


Award Citation:

Ocotillo Park is a 5-acre park in the City of Cathedral City offering passive and active recreational opportunities including playgrounds and picnic areas, walking paths, a softball field with soccer field overlay, basketball courts, a parking lot, outdoor plaza, picnic shelters, a skatepark, fitness stations, and a restroom building.

Suggested Award Summary:

David Evans and Associates, Inc.’s (DEA) civil engineers and landscape architects provided master planning, Proposition 84 grant coordination, and construction documents for Ocotillo Park, a 5-acre park in Cathedral City. Working closely with the city-appointed grant writer, DEA developed a plan for active recreational facilities while considering incorporating sustainable features such as recycled materials, using decorative rock and inert materials, utilizing ‘Smart Irrigation’ techniques, and specifying drought tolerant plant material. The park features playground and picnic areas, walking paths, a ball field with soccer field overlay, parking, outdoor plazas, picnic shelters, a skate park, fitness stations, a restroom, lighting, and signage.

Additional Information

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