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A Big Park for a Small Town
Stanton Central Park, Stanton, California

by David Volz, David Volz Design Landscape Architects Inc.


David Volz Design Landscape Architects was hired for the design of Stanton Central Park in Stanton, California. The 11.5-acre park includes a playground of 7,200 square feet.
A - Community & Park Staff Building
B - Restroom & Storage Building
C - Bandstand & Plaza, Community Event & Lawn Space
D - Group Picnic Pavilions
E - Sports Fields
F - Skate Plaza
G - Perimeter Landscape
H - Exercise Loop Trail
I - Splash Pad
J.1 - Playground, 5-12 year olds
J.2 - Playground, 2-5 year olds
K - Existing Tennis Courts
L - Parking Lot
M - Entry and Western Ave. Frontage
N - Basketball "Half Courts"
O - Picnic Area with Shade Shelter

In Stanton, a small town in the westerly portion of Orange County, California, "community pride and forward vision" is the city motto. Communitywide celebrations are regularly held throughout the city, however, there previously existed no large outdoor space to gather. The momentum for creating Stanton Central Park, the city's largest park, began over a decade before its summer 2016 opening day. Forward-thinking civic leaders seized the opportunity to purchase a surplus of school property to build a new community park. The city utilized redevelopment bonds, a State Parks Grant, and Park-in-Lieu Fees to fund this ambitious project.

At 11.5 acres, Stanton Central Park is the largest recreational open space within the city's 3.2 square miles. Once the city acquired the funding needed to move forward, the park was designed and constructed in time for the 60th anniversary of Stanton's incorporation. This community park includes larger amenities that would not fit in the few small parks that exist in the city. The new Central Park has walking trails, a splash pad, a bandstand, ball fields, a skate park, a butterfly garden, picnic areas, playgrounds and a 2,000-square foot community center building, all very popular with park visitors. Public art pieces are woven throughout the parks' recreational amenities, enhancing the beauty of its many gardens.


Inspired by the adjacent site of a former Red Car trolley station, the main structure of the playground is an 18-foot tall train, dubbed the Stanton Express. It and the water tower are both fully accessible, as is the green and beige resilient rubber surfacing. These play pieces provide a full range of play experiences for the 5 and older crowd. The train is also brought to life through a graphic mural on the community building.

Community outreach was integral to the design process. It was immensely important to have the Stanton residents involved and engaged in the park's design, as well as to establish a communal sense of ownership in the process. Numerous community design workshops resulted in valuable community engagement for this "people's park."

The ideas brought forth through direct and open communication between the designers, city staff and residents generated the creative concepts for the park. The city leaders saw this pioneering park as a great gift to the Stanton residents, a gift to benefit the current community, as well as the city's future generations. Over 2,000 cheerful citizens celebrated during the park's opening day ceremony.


Because the park is 11 acres, the landscape architect sought to deliver multiple family-oriented recreation opportunities. The water play space is always packed with kids, big and small. The equipment was selected to match the railroad and outdoor western themes of the playground.

The design of this park carefully considered responsible and sustainable resource conservation measures. Drought tolerant and native trees, shrubs, succulents and groundcovers, in conjunction with state-of-the-art water-wise irrigation systems, showcase the natural beauty that thrives in our Southern California climate. The butterfly garden inspires a sensate awareness of ecological systems at play in nature. Community art, sculptures and murals, plenty of benches and tables, covered picnicking areas, and open swaths of grass facilitate and invite social gathering. For the first time, Stanton now has a permanent venue to host large-scale events such as summer concerts that attract thousands of residents and visitors.

Having a park like this shows the deep interest and commitment the city and its residents have for an improved quality of life within this tight knit community. After many years of funding obstacles, the building of Stanton Central Park has unified the community and created safe places for healthy active play. This park is a milestone in Stanton history. For this community, the value of this park is far greater than its $11.2 million construction cost. It reflects the city's commitment to provide quality of life improvements while inspiring healthy lifestyles and promoting recreation for all residents.

Stanton Central Park opened in June 2016. In the three summer months following, more than 64,000 people visited, reflecting the park's immense success within the community.


The rocks and ropes play space (Landscape Structures) challenges the "tweens" with active, creative elements. The yearlong planning for the park included input from the neighborhood association, the city teen commission, City Council, and parks commission. From site clearing to opening, it took just one year.

Project Team:
City of Stanton: Community Services and Public Works Departments
Park Design Lead: David Volz Design Landscape Architects, Inc.
Civil Engineering: Penco Engineering
Community Buildings Design: Poindexter Consulting
Electrical Engineering: Design West Engineering
Construction Contractor: USS Cal Builders
Play Elements: Landscape Structures (Rocks & Ropes)
Splash Pad: Water Odyssey Inc.
Outdoor Fitness Equipment: Greenfields Outdoor Fitness
Playground Surfacing: Spectraturf
Construction Manager: Civil Source

As seen in LASN magazine, January 2018, Playgrounds.

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December 8, 2019, 7:42 am PDT

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