Linden Park: The Metamorphosis of a Space

Tucked away in the Redwood Oaks neighborhood of Redwood City, Linden Park has operated as an oasis for residents since it first opened in 1972.  A so-called pocket park, it has long provided a refuge from the hustle-and-bustle of everyday life and a safe place for neighborhood children to play.

Linden Park GraniteCrete Permeable Pathway
This GraniteCrete pathway allows visitors to easily move through Linden Park.

A Time for Change
After several decades of community use, in 2011 the park was temporarily closed by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) so it could run underground water pipelines through the area.  Once the pipelines were laid, plans to renew and reopen the park began.  This was not simply installing new playground equipment and removing the construction fences keeping residents out of the lot – it took a lot more to get the park back online.

Unexpected Setbacks
Since the park is located on land owned by the SFPUC, plans for the park had to be designed to meet its rigid standards.  The underground pipelines limited how deep into the ground traditional park objects—such as footings and tree roots—could go.  This meant that traditional play equipment, trees, or utilities couldn’t be installed.  So, the architects for the park – SSA Landscape Architecture – had to get creative.

After careful planning and design, it was almost time to break ground and begin rebuilding Linden Park.  However, before this could happen, the SFPUC revised its engineering standards and recreational use policies.  The plans for the park came to a screeching halt.  The project team had to redesign its rebuilding plans – again – to fit the new standards and policies.  Finally, after reworking the park design and obtaining approval for the new plans, construction on the new park finally began in early 2017.

Our thanks to the City of Redwood for these photographs.

Caterpillars, Cocoons, and Butterflies
Opened in late June of 2017, the new Linden Park features a unique “Butterfly Lifecycle” theme.  Children (and maybe some adults) play and interact with caterpillar and butterfly structures throughout the park. They balance, jump, and hop across strategically placed “tree stumps.” They seek refuge under willow arch structures – as though they are safely inside a butterfly cocoon.

In addition to designing the play structures to meet SFPUC standards, the paving material between the structures also had to meet these standards.  The SFPUC doesn’t allow subsurface drainage pipes to be installed, making permeability and reduced stormwater runoff important challenges for the architects.

A Natural Home for GraniteCrete
So, SSA Landscape Architecture turned to GraniteCrete.  Not only is GraniteCrete incredibly durable – making it perfect for an area that will see plenty of foot traffic – it’s also permeable, allowing water to pass through, reducing stormwater runoff.  And GraniteCrete added to the aesthetics of the park; its color and texture perfectly matched to the beautiful, natural theme of the park.  Due to SSA Landscape Architecture’s incredible work, they’ve received two awards for Linden Park: the 2017 CPRS Award of Excellence in the Neighborhood Class 1: Excellence in Park Planning & Development category, and the 2018 APWA Silicon Valley Chapter Public Works Project of the Year.

In the end, the community got a unique, beautiful, and environmentally-friendly park through the combined efforts of Redwood City Parks, Recreation and Community Services’ Landscape Architect Claudia Olalla, SSA Landscape Architecture, C2R Engineering Inc, Director Chris Beth, and the many individuals who made up the project staff.  Children have been flocking to the new structures to play over, under, and around them.  Parents and other adults stroll along or sit happily in the park, enjoying the beautiful surroundings and the sights of the clever playground.

GraniteCrete is proud to have been chosen for this project and wishes the community many great decades of use from their lovely park.