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Parks & Open Space

Parks and open space provide a unique opportunity to enhance our communities and connect us with nature. This interface with the natural environment provides a myriad of benefits, especially with increased urban development, but also the potential for unintended environmental impacts. In an era of declining budgets and funding, managers of parks and open spaces need efficient solutions and expert guidance as they aim to balance the recreational needs of a community with the needs of the environment.

From natural resource management plans to habitat restoration plans, HELIX works with park and recreation staff as well as land managers to efficiently and effectively manage natural resources and preserve open spaces. This has included the mapping of sensitive plant and animal species as well as trail revegetation, invasive species removal, and the installation of native plants. We help clients restore open spaces to their rich, native conditions as well as enhance parks to incorporate plans and practices that promote sustainability and alleviate future environmental and maintenance issues. HELIX also works with park designers and managers to ensure that impacts and issues unique to recreational areas in urban settings (such as noise, lighting and traffic) are minimized and addressed through the environmental review process.


We also offer a broad range of landscape architecture services, spanning long-range master plans through detailed site design and construction documents. To elicit feedback from community members, we facilitate creative and engaging community outreach meetings and integrate feedback into our designs. We develop broad-scale community park, recreation, and trail master plans for communities large and small.
We also design site-specific concept plans which can be basic expressions of the design intent or complex and beautifully rendered conceptual plans and graphics to simulate the experience of the design for community members, decision makers, and grant applications. We then develop design concepts into construction documents, including specifications and cost estimates. To ensure a successful project we provide assistance during bidding and construction to answer questions, review submittals, and oversee construction. We understand that funding for park and recreation projects can be challenging, so we work with agencies budgets preparing phasing plans, offering grant writing services, and working with staff to identify fundraising mechanisms.


HELIX facilitated the design and development of a 12.7 acre habitat restoration effort in the City of Santee which will help to satisfy mitigation requirements for six different development projects in the vicinity of the San Diego River. The project site is located within the resource-rich San Diego River floodplain which presented a number of challenges. The adjacent Lowe’s Biological Open Space Preserve, when combined with Mast Park, will create a consolidated community preserve of over 20 acres.