Pajaro Neighborhood Park



2014

Client:
Monterey County Resource Management Agency

Location:
Pajaro, Monterey County, California

Market:
Municipal

A first-of-its-kind for hard-working families

Luxuries are scarce in the unincorporated community of Pajaro, California—home to many underserved farm workers in the northwest tip of Monterey County. With help from Harris, the community rallied around a neighborhood park that has become its crown jewel—a place to gather, have fun and get healthy. 

Bringing Pajaro Neighborhood Park to life required the County and project team to clear numerous hurdles, including:

  • Finding and paying for land for the site
  • Securing funding without burdening residents with additional usage fees
  • Designing the layout and structures as the site is in a flood zone
  • Public outreach and participation
  • Transferring ownership to the local Community Services District for operations and maintenance

The park was built in an unconventional location: a former construction field yard that had operated for over 50 years. The owner dedicated the land to the project but that required the County to remediate the site of contaminated soil, which had threatened the nearby Pajaro River. Harris provided construction and project management services to the County.

Core Elements

The five-acre, $6.3 million park includes:

  • A three-acre synthetic turf sports field for soccer and baseball
  • Barbeque shade structures
  • Picnic tables
  • A 40-foot-diameter stage pavilion
  • Two large playgrounds for different age groups
  • Basketball and volleyball courts
  • Play structures
  • Sustainable elements such as bioswales and solar panels
  • A walking/jogging path
  • A 600-foot sound-wall mural

Beyond the Blueprints

Community outreach was essential—and bilingual, given that most of Pajaro speaks Spanish. By the time construction commenced, the entire community of 3,000 was firmly behind the project.

To involve local residents, the county Arts Council had students design and paint the park’s signature mural wall, which includes uplifting images of butterflies, piñatas, birds, flowers and farm workers. The local Boy Scout troop further beautified the park by planting landscape elements during construction.


AWARDS

2015 APWA National Project of the Year: Small Cities/Rural Communities Structures