KCI provided full-service engineering and environmental services for the development and implementation of Western Regional Park’s master plan. At the time, suburban development had outpaced the county’s capacity to offer adequate recreational facilities. Howard County contracted KCI to plan this 190-acre regional park to provide sports fields and a diversity of recreational venues while retaining the rural and aesthetic context of the property and surrounding landscape. The location of the property provided the county with a unique opportunity to create a premier park that not only supports the recreational needs of the community, but also preserves the rural landscape unique to the area.
Improvements called for extensive recreational facilities and multiple buildings including an indoor roller hockey pavilion, comfort stations, picnic shelters, concession buildings, and an 8,000-square-foot maintenance facility. A number of natural and artificial turf athletic fields were planned throughout the project site, including a pinwheel softball / concession complex, five multipurpose fields, and two baseball diamonds, as well as tennis and basketball courts. Each of these elements presented a set of unique challenges, such as ensuring adequate sports lighting didn’t flood the area with unneeded light and innovative design approaches required for the septic and well utility systems throughout the project.
The KCI team also provided planning and design for several thematic playgrounds with tot-lot elements and equipment specific to age groups, two-miles of recreational trails with interpretive elements and signage, a decorative water feature with a working windmill for the pump, several hardscape plazas, and an entrance monument and signage.
The park’s combination of rolling fields and forested hills provided a landscape character that is both a recreational and educational experience to park patrons. The newly added enhancements to the landscape were put in place to reinforce the park’s natural beauty so that it could be enjoyed by both visitors and passing motorists. Our landscape architects attempted to blend in modern outdoor amenities without eliminating the rural feel of the countryside. Preserving the pastoral character of the site, while meeting the master plan’s extensive recreational program requirements, was essential to developing a successful park. Using visual quality analysis techniques through Micro-station and photography taken from key points along the county scenic route, the site was designed to assure that the views from the scenic roads were retained. Site layout landform grading techniques and adopting built forms from the adjacent farm buildings proved to be an effective way of integrating a large-scale athletic complex into the rural scenery.