If you round the bend on Park Street, you could blink and almost miss it. Located atop the Hetch Hetchy right-of-way, and nestled into a street corner, is a Redwood Oaks neighborhood treasure, Linden Park. The land is owned by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and due to the water pipeline project in 2011, the park had to be removed and Linden Park was to be reimagined.
History of Linden Park
Let’s start at the beginning. In 1971, the City of Redwood City obtained a Land Use Permit and by 1972 had dedicated the Park open to the neighborhood. A renovation was done in 1986 and the narrow little park housed a wooden play area for kids with a small grass area to relax. It was a sweet little pocket park and a hidden gem for families.
Fast forward to 2011, SFPUC removed the park during their water pipeline project. Due to the piping beneath the ground and the need for access, there are many stipulations about what can be placed into the ground. There are strict guidelines to the depth of grounding park objects like footings, tree roots, etc. This makes designing for this space extremely challenging. We partnered with motivated neighbors, created a project team, and after a number of community meetings, a design was settled upon by everyone. In 2013, Council approved funding to reconstruct Linden Park and the dream of breaking ground was soon to become a reality.
But, as it would happen, the unexpected occurred. In April 2014, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) informed the City the need to modify the SFPUC engineering standards and land use policies for their entire right-of-way. Though the City had nearly completed the 65% construction drawings at the time, the project could not move forward based on their direction and the uncertain change of requirements. Since the park is not on City land, the City was required to comply with the SFPUC requirements, process, and approvals. This was a devastating blow to the residents, volunteers, and staff who had worked tirelessly to perfect the new park design. Several months later, SFPUC completed their study and allowed the City to move forward with the project using their revised engineering standards and recreational use policies.
The project bid opening was held on December 14, 2016. It was awarded to C2R Engineering, Inc. from Mountain View. and construction finally began in February 2017. And to add to the delay, we experienced a whole lot of rain. While we were incredibly thankful for this drought alleviating season, it inevitably amassed major delays.
The good news? We are happy, relieved, and excited to announce that Linden Park is a now reality! We are thankful for the creativity, care, and focus that our team gave to this project. A truly unique space has been created.
Introducing the NEW Linden Park!
We’ve told you about the many challenges in designing this space. This particular park created a unique circumstance for our designers as we could not install any traditional play equipment, trees, or utilities due to the change of policies and engineering standards that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) put in place after initial community meetings and drawings were completed. Through the artful eye of Redwood City Parks, Recreation and Community Services’ Landscape Architect, Claudia Olalla, the expertise of SSA Landscape Architecture, the support and project oversight of our Director and cheerleader, Chris Beth, our contractor, and our dedicated park staff, we are proud to introduce the new Linden Park—themed, “Butterfly Lifecycle.”
This innovative park design features interesting shapes like spirals, arches, and lines that inspire creative play and encourages kids to balance, jump, hop, race each other, and use their imaginations. The special willow arch structures were formed to elicit the feeling of being in a butterfly cocoon and provide additional shade and “chill” space. Kids can also find a couple of cute characters like caterpillars and a butterfly to sit and play upon. Lastly, Special plants were chosen which attract, house, and feed butterflies, with the hope that Linden Park will create a successful habitat.
Although we wish it hadn’t taken so long to complete, we think the park will be a wonderful amenity for the surrounding neighborhood and broader community. If you plan to visit this park, please note that the streets surrounding it are tight and there is no parking. It is through and through a neighborhood park. We ask that if you plan to visit, it is by foot or by bike.
We celebrated the Linden Park Grand Opening on June 29, 2017, joined by enthusiastic neighbors and supporters, Mayor John Seybert, Vice Mayor Bain, Parks Commissioners, and City Staff. You can check out the celebration and several features of the park in the video below. For more information about our city parks and programs, click here.