Bachechi Open Space Park is one of Albuquerque’s most popular attractions, with pedestrians, bicyclists, hikers, equestrians, and nature enthusiasts all enjoying it. It’s the starting point for a 21-mile hike through the Bosque and the Rio Grande Valley State Park.
The park features a mostly native-plant urban forest, wildlife watching stations, picnic areas, and hiking trails. Roof water from the Environmental Education building is collected in above-ground cisterns and utilized to irrigate the landscape. On-site earthwork is an important part of the park’s water conservation strategy. Several moist soil and xeric depressions replicate the nearby bosque by harvesting water from surrounding surfaces. Plants thrive in this system, which also draws wildlife. To maintain precipitation on site for the vegetation, all grading is designed to collect water from hard and soft surfaces.
A wetland boardwalk, a restored historic pecan orchard, and a working arboretum are all part of the Bachechi Open Space Park. The design of this fantastic park was shaped by a lot of collaboration and public participation.
In the 1960s, the Hahn Arroyo Drainage Channel was originally built. It deteriorated over time, and the concrete lining deteriorated to the point of failure after severe rains. AMAFCA hired Sites Southwest to create a conceptual design for the channel's rehabilitation. AMAFCA and its consultants chose a unique approach based on environmentally friendly ideas and cutting-edge technology. The arroyo might be used for a variety of purposes, remain safe, and still act as a drainage system.
The Hahn was designed and rebuilt by Sites Southwest in collaboration with Smith Engineering. The project's main goal was to repair the drainage lining while also improving water quality. A multipurpose trail, water harvesting measures, and channel sections as open space/park lands were all part of the team's "whole systems approach." Diversion structures were built to filter contaminants from storm water before harvesting some of it and storing it in cisterns. The water irrigates the landscape, giving shade, habitat for wildlife, and aesthetic alleviation. A dog drinking station was also included, as well as wayfinding signage.
High Desert Community
Approximately 2,300 housing units are located on this 1,000-acre tract. Natural arroyos were preserved as open space corridors for stormwater recharge, wildlife, and trails as part of the development. Parks, streetscapes, and extra increased open space were all part of the phasing and implementation process. Disturbed infrastructure locations were reclaimed or replanted with native plants to generate better ecosystems. Sites Southwest's responsibilities have included contributing to the creation of the approved plant list and landscape criteria, serving on the community's design review committee, and planning landscape and irrigation for the community's numerous projects. All of the plants used in the landscaping are drought tolerant and mostly native to the area. Water collected from roads, rooftops, and other impermeable surfaces is re-used in the landscape. Residents were educated about the benefits of LID features through an interpretative signage system that was installed around the community.
Linda Daw Hudson Park
Linda Daw Hudson Park (formerly Franklin Hills Park) is located in El Paso, Texas, on the west slope of the Franklin Mountains. This project, which is a community park, was built around an existing arroyo that is surrounded by residential areas and an El Paso public school. The community developer and landscape architects, Sites Southwest, wanted to maintain as much of the existing desert as possible while maximizing the use of the site's already disturbed regions for park spaces. Because of its orientation and location, the facility prioritizes the preservation of the natural Chihuahuan desert and the efficient use of runoff.
A playground, plaza, walking route, parking lot upgrade, and an amphitheater are among the park's amenities. The designers included options for facilities such as a playground and an amphitheater that is used as an outdoor classroom by the adjacent school within the bowl-shaped property separated by the arroyo. A walking track passes through the central plaza and playground and runs around the perimeter of the natural area. The amphitheater was created by stabilizing the steep slopes with hydro mulch seeding and tiered walls. Texas Parks & Wildlife will certify this project as a "Texas Wildscape."
NMDOT NPD Manual
Sites Southwest collaborated with Bohannan Huston, Inc., Daniel B. Stephens & Assoc., and Dekker/Perich/Sabatini in developing guidelines and best management practices (BMPs) for addressing potential pollutants from highway construction and other non-point discharge sources. These guidelines will help the NMDOT and other state agencies improve the resilience of New Mexico's built infrastructure while reducing the negative impact of stormwater runoff on the environment. Many BMP possibilities are described in detail in this manual, which also includes broad approaches and conceptual layouts to provide designers considerable latitude in applying the guidelines to specific project sites.
Rancho Desierto Bello Park
Horizon City, Texas's neighborhood park is part of a planned development. This park serves a city neighborhood that is underserved. There are no other parks nearby, therefore this park has a playground, plaza, and sand play area. A dry streambed will come to life during a downpour, providing storm water capacity for the neighboring roadways in this development, and is planted with low water usage plant material.
Working closely with the engineers, we were able to explore the park's potential to control water runoff from neighboring subdivision streets and to accommodate small to medium water flows, as well as the ability to redirect larger flows to stormwater collection areas. The use of bioswales and check dams to slow the runoff enabled for more beautiful swale plantings and a little larger and deeper pond. This larger pond will feature a huge turfed lawn that will absorb filtered stormwater runoff and serve as a gathering spot for various activities throughout the day. Off the paved trail, a substantial quantity of native vegetation will be conserved, providing walking places. On the higher plateaus, a plaza, play area, and sand area serve as a family or gathering spot for Horizon City residents from the surrounding neighborhoods.
Vocational Park Pond
This fenced-in stormwater drainage pond adjacent to a High School and Middle School was transformed into a creative green space with two wide flat fields, a hike/bike route, a plaza, a playground, and landscaping to allow the public to enjoy their new park.
Sites Southwest built two new flat fields that double as open grass spaces and enhance the view of the fields with plazas, tables, chairs, trees, and low water usage plant material in an attractive setting due to the inadequate availability of soccer fields and the huge need. Areas were seeded with adequate plant material to accommodate the projected water in the pond, which was designed in many tiers to handle the water. The lowest tier was planted with a pond mix that was developed specifically for the amount of water that would be present year-round in this region. The seed mix for the slopes is a wildflower and native grass seed mix that requires far less water. Along the park's border with Loop 375, fields were sodded and tree buffers were erected. To ensure that the park/pond is accessible to all, ADA access was built to a lower level.
Thomas Manor Park Pond
The Thomas Manor Pump Station and Park Pond project by El Paso Water is bringing collaboration to new heights. EP Water, the City of El Paso Parks & Recreation Department, the Ysleta Independent School District, CEA Group, and Sites Southwest collaborated to give the Thomas Manor District of El Paso a new operational pump station and ponding park.
Moving the large unattractive fenced pond from the park's entrance and incorporating it with tiered open grass fields, a walking track with distance markers, a creatively designed plaza area, and new amenities provided the community with more recreational space and a much more attractive entrance to this active community park.
Residents can expect to see new playground equipment, a significant number of new trees, a new fenced basketball court, and exercise equipment in addition to the large trees protected throughout the park, which will benefit both the neighborhood and students from the nearby Thomas Manor Elementary School.
Valle de Oro Master Plan
Sites Southwest and Wilson &Company are collaborating to establish the first planned Urban Wildlife Refuge in the United States. The team will create a Master Plan for this spectacular new visitor and research site in Albuquerque's far south valley, after being chosen by AMAFCA and the USFW. There are 570 acres in all.
Attracting ducks and other avian species to xeric and mesoxeric landscape habitats, six wetland/management units, fields designed to reflect the site's historic past, and pedestrian and equestrian pathways are among the refuge's goals. There will also be botanical research labs, children's learning exhibits, and a salt grass ecosystem on the property. Storm water quality devices will filter drainage water entering the site and the Rio Grande while also serving as artwork.