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J2 Engineering and Environmental Design

Founding principals Jeff Holzmeister, PE and Jeff Engelmann, RLA have decades of civic and hydraulic/water resources engineering and landscape architecture experience. Founded in 2002, J2 also opened an office in Olathe, Kansas in 2008. J2's landscape architecture department works on master planning, urban design, park and recreation design, multiuse trails, environmental restoration, commercial and municipal facilities and irrigation/pump station design. J2 has a staff of 27, including 9 RLAs.

Cosmo Park, Town of Gilbert, Arizona


The Town of Gilbert hired J2 Engineering and Environmental Design, LLC to work with the Arizona Department of Transportation to convert this planned 16 acre retention basin into a terraced multi-use park scenario. The result of creatively fusing engineering design with landscape architecture has resulted in the creation of an award winning public amenity. The basin's slopes once slated to be barren, fenced, and desolate; have been replaced by grassy open slopes, a lake, Americans with Disabilities Act accessible trails, picnic ramadas, a state-of-the-art dog park with water entry and dog dock, K-9 Police Dog training facility, and public access to a series of interconnected trail systems that link Cosmo Park to other recreational and destination features within the Town.

The design philosophy behind the 16-acre Cosmo Park was to celebrate the playfulness of dogs and the joy that an animal can bring into a life. This design philosophy was reflected in every aspect of the project from the colored panels with dog paw prints on the light poles for the use of dog paw prints for the bridge crossing and wall aesthetics, to the "dog toe" seat pods around the park, to the fire hydrant water feature at the park overlook and main entry.

Cosmo Park's off-leash area was designed around providing the Town of Gilbert's K-9 officers a place to train. These same features are available for use by the general public during normal park operating hours. Cosmo was the first of Gilbert's K-9 police dogs. The park, dedicated to Cosmo, resulted in every aspect of the project having a relationship or design theme related to dogs. Officer Cosmo was a trusted friend and this park is a tribute to her years of service.

Cosmo Park was designed and constructed via the Construction Manager at Risk delivery method.


Desert Mountain Park, Town of Queen Creek, Arizona


J2 Engineering and Environmental Design, LLC was the prime consultant that managed the diverse team of professionals that brought to life the Town of Queen Creek's Desert Mountain Park. J2 provided master planning design services that included extensive public involvement and outreach, coordination with the Town's steering committee, and eventual presentation to and approval of, the master plan from the Town Council. J2 completed the development of construction documents for the park, including all civil engineering and landscape architecture aspects of the park design.

Desert Mountain Park's 33 acres were designed to be the active sports complex for the Town of Queen Creek. The site design beautifully accommodates two lighted soccer fields, a championship four-plex softball/little league baseball diamond complex, along with sufficient parking for these activities. Additionally, two restroom concession buildings, two restroom buildings, a maintenance building and storage yard were included. Equestrian parking and trail access for the extensive multi-use trail system was created, as were facilities and space for a public events area, a small amphitheatre, and a desert botanical garden area. Basketball courts, sand volleyball courts, group and individual picnic ramadas, a tot lot play area and an adventure play area complete the design for Desert Mountain Park. A unique aspect of the park was the design of an underground irrigation water storage facility instead of a lake. Do to the extensive equestrian contingency within the Town and their concern over potential vector control issues associated with open bodies of water the Town elected to install large tanks under the soccer fields that provide the required water storage volume for the irrigation system.

Tolleson, Ariz. Veterans Park

J2 was the prime consultant for this project and was responsible for the landscape architectural, irrigation, and water resources engineering design for this exciting 10-acre community park. J2's scope included public involvement, master planning, design, development of construction documents, and post design services.

The park includes two alternative-surface parking lots; restroom/concession building using local Phoenix brick; cooling tower for the adjacent plaza; retaining gabions at the stage area with local rock; weathered steel roof, performance stage structure and festival shade structures; lighted baseball and multiuse sports fields; shaded tot-lot; pedestrian plaza with historical signage; festival amphitheater; concrete and soft-surface jogging trails; picnic ramadas, entry monument and a maintenance yard enclosure.

Discovery Park, Town of Gilbert, Arizona

J2 Engineering and Environmental Design, LLC was the prime consultant for this project and was responsible for the landscape architectural and civil engineering design of Discovery Park. Discovery Park was designed as a regional park for the Town of Gilbert. Additionally, the park serves as an offline retention basin for the Loop 202L - Santan Freeway and was designed and built via the Construction Manager at Risk process simultaneously with Cosmo Park.

Services provided for this project included the evaluation of the proposed park site and working closely with the Arizona Department of Transportation to develop the retention basins with the future park in mind. J2 developed a park master plan to accommodate the Town's desired features and functions, developed design themes, administered public involvement, and created the park's final set of construction documents.

The design theme for Discovery Park was inspired by the earth's stratum and the way the force of water moves and shapes those layers. J2's design for the 48 acre Discovery Park was focused on active recreational play and included five multi-use fields, two sand volleyball courts, and two basketball courts. Discovery Park has two lakes connected by a naturalistic boulder strewn stream, numerous picnic and group ramadas, an extensive lighted concrete trail system and a creative play area. Additionally, a restroom and concessions building, a unique pedestrian park entry and turf landforms for children's interpretive play were included. The park received its name from the discovery of the remains of a Columbian Mammoth at an adjacent construction site. The park is also unique in that it occupies the northwest corner of the intersection of two major arterial roadways. The Town prioritized the recreational needs of the community over the addition of another gas station or convenience store at a location that is considered prime commercial real estate.

Glendale Park and Ride, City of Glendale, Arizona

The Glendale Park and Ride is an effort by the City of Glendale to improve commuting in the west valley. This park and ride serves as a link to express route bus service, local bus service, as well as car pooling on the adjacent 101 Freeway. This project directly improves the quality of life for the entire valley by providing the alternative transportation that has long been missing.

J2 served as a sub-consultant on this project and wore multiple hats. Initially, the multi-disciplined design team was only focused on maximizing the number of stalls. The initial thinking of pursuing a sustainable point of view relative to the overall design intent of this project was brought to the table by J2's Landscape Team. This was initially met with interest but a good deal of skepticism as there were very few large scale examples of the use of pervious pavement available for review. J2 focused the attention of the team on the creative placement and use of shade canopies and strategically placed plant materials to provide shade for both pedestrians and automobiles. Rain water harvesting from all roofs was implemented, and rainfall runoff from the roofs was routed to create an ephemeral water feature as the water finds its way into the rain gardens sprinkled throughout the site. In addition the plant palette and ground plane treatment were designed to mimic the native Sonoran desert where the use of native cacti, creosote and other native shrubs and trees, such as Palo Verde and Ironwood, are prevalent throughout the site, along with large areas of native seed. The creation of a desert pavement chosen for the ground plane was a special mix of large angular cobble mixed with smaller granular materials providing the visual effect of the play of light and shadow against the native plant palette. The result is visually stunning and aids in water conservation and a reduction in light glare.

The use of the product called Porous Pavement was the single largest hurdle that had to be overcome during the design of this project. The challenges included the size of the project, the simple fact that there were no large scale examples in the southwest that clearly demonstrated the successful use of this product, and the structural engineering and geotechnical standards that were being challenged. The design of the Porous Pavement material is based on voids that allow for water and air to flow through the poured slab. By eliminating the sand that is in a typical concrete mix, the void structure is left in the range of 15-30%, allowing for storm water to pass though at a rate of up to 8 gallons per square foot per minute and run directly into the sub-base and ground soil. The construction schedule set the Porous Pavement pours during the hottest time of the year and, with day time temperatures well over the one hundred degree mark, the concrete pours usually started around midnight. Placing the concrete when the lowest possible temperatures were available was critical because it was placed at a 0 slump. Screeding the concrete, cross rolling it, jointing and getting it covered in the small window of fifteen minutes is imperative to keeping it from curing too rapidly. The concrete has to remain covered for a minimum of seven days to ensure that evaporation and air contact is minimal. At the Glendale Park and Ride, just fourteen days after placement, portions of the pavement were subjected to the heavy equipment used to place the canopies of the facility with no structural failure.

Horseshoe Park and Equestrian Centre, Town of Queen Creek, Arizona

J2 Engineering and Environmental Design, LLC was the prime consultant who managed the diverse team of professionals that provided design and construction services to the Town of Queen Creek for the Horseshoe Park and Equestrian Centre. The park master plan design evolved through many public open houses, committee meetings, and public efforts throughout the years. This site now offers a major destination for the Town of Queen Creek and its citizens.

Services provided for this project included master planning the entire 126 acre parcel; which include 88 acres of landfill redevelopment and 38 acres of equestrian park portion. J2 developed a master plan to accommodate the Town's desire to have an equestrian based facility and to promote the rural lifestyle in the Southeast Valley. J2 developed a park master plan and phasing plan to accommodate the Town's desire to have an equestrian friendly park. The initial stage of the project included developing 38 acres as an equestrian event center, with two lighted arenas (one covered), two lighted warm-up rings, 100-stall barn with attached restrooms and showers, holding pens and chutes, wash rack, spectator and contestant parking, vendor hook-up areas, offices, maintenance facilities, restroom/concession building, multi-use space, and overflow parking lot; Community arena area includes lighted arena, round pen, and concrete building restroom. A second phase will include an administrative office, full kitchen, concessions, two additional 100-stall barns, warm-up ring, wash rack, holding pens and chutes. The final phase will include playground equipment, trails, picnic areas, trail nodes with picnic tables and a mountaintop sitting area.

New River Bank Protection & Trail System, City of Peoria, Arizona and the Flood Control District of Maricopa County

J2 Engineering and Environmental Design, LLC was the lead firm for this exciting project, responsible for the river hydrology and hydraulic studies and reports, bank stabilization design and development of the overall master plan and construction documents for over 2 miles of river restoration in New River from Grand Avenue north to the Skunk Creek confluence. The project included the coordination of containment of the Standard Project Flood (SPF) within the river corridor and the protection of bridges and the surrounding residential and commercial development.

Containment of the SPF within the right of way was the primary project goal, but J2, working closely with the Flood Control District and the City of Peoria staff, crafted additional recommendations for the project. This resulted in the successful integration of the overall theme of a "Connected Riparian Desert". This theme relied on close coordination with all interested parties, including extensive public input, and resulted in an improved bank stabilization program along with ecosystem conservation and enhancement through grading and alignment designs. Re-vegetation plans were developed and incorporated into a series of habitat plantings along the multi-use recreational trail system. J2 also envisioned the creative reuse of river materials and designed a unique "living roof" ramada. In addition, J2 planned the location and design of the various public staging areas and overlooks located along and within the project area.

Palo Verde Park, City of Peoria, Arizona

J2 was the prime firm leading a design team for Palo Verde Park. J2 provided professional services for master planning, thematic design and 404 permitting, as well as the development of construction documents and construction observation for this 4 acre neighborhood park within the City of Peoria. Palo Verde Park, located in northwest Peoria, has a unique history, which, along with the archeological concerns of the site, played a major role in the new design. Design elements included the preservation of the Native American archeological sites and the existing wash areas, while making space for a creative play area with a shade canopy and a lighted basketball half-court. J2 also designed restroom facilities, parking areas and picnic ramadas. Further components included a Sonoran overlook, hiking trails and an open turf area all the while being sensitive to desert re-vegetation concerns and landscape and irrigation needs. The landscape for Palo Verde Park seamlessly blends with the surrounding desert by incorporating a native planting palette and utilizing desert pavement collected from the site. The park serves as the western trailhead for the recreation area and as a hub for regional trails.

Indian Bend Road Improvements, Scottsdale

A local Arabian horse ranch and stormwater and natural wash phenomena was the inspiration for the Indian Bend Road improvement project. A landscaped median, turn lanes, bike lanes and an all-weather crossing facilitated vehicle and pedestrian traffic over Indian Bend Wash. J2 was a subconsultant on the project, and produced construction documents for the structure aesthetics, flow berms, stadia walls, and helped to bring the artist concept to reality.

The stained dark grey concrete walls of the wash bridge have a smooth finish, with recessed bands of red tile marking water depths, a design inspired by stadia rods, which measure depth of storm water in washes. Bridge enhancements were made to the piers, abutments and wing walls.

Five horse gargoyles on plinths were integrated into the drop structure. Each horse has a different pose, creating a vision of running horses. Flood waters can flow around them or through the horses' mouths. They are up-lit with blue and yellow lights.

The south side of the bridge has six stadia walls in the basin between the bridge columns and flow berms ('Black Cherry' riprap mortared into place). The berms have a two-foot wide planter down the middle with Muhlenbergia capillaris ('Regal Mist'), a tall desert grass. A triangular grove of ironwood trees in a raised planter was constructed in the basin.

Roosevelt Street to Earll Drive Streetscape, Scottsdale

This first segment of urban revitalization to the corridor provided opportunities for public art; improved safety and mobility for pedestrians, bicycle, and transit travel; and preserved the opportunity for future high-capacity transit. J2 provided reviews of construction documents and construction administration. The initial project design team was lead by Otak, an international multidisciplinary design firm.

Pedestrian amenities included 'Arroyo Blue' and photovoltaic lighting; special paving finishes; intensive and colorful plantings; site furnishings; eight-foot wide sidewalk and eight-foot wide planting buffers; and a shaded walkway. Formal geometric planting patterns link the trees; color, textures and heights punctuate the shrubs, groundcovers and accents plants; and there are rivulet and stratification themes.

Rio Salado Environmental Restoration, Phoenix

J2 was the landscape architecture design manager for the aesthetics and habitat restoration team for this five-mile river corridor. The USACE was the client. J2 provided habitat and recreational facility master planning/design; multiuse trails; habitat calculations and restoration planting designs; cost estimating/specifications; and construction documention. Improvements were made to pedestrian plazas and trail staging areas, parking lots, restrooms and wetlands.

Santan Vista Trail (Eastern Canal Pathway), Town of Gilbert, Arizona

J2 was the prime consultant for this project and was responsible for the landscape architectural features, irrigation and civil engineering design of this multi-use trail project. This section of multi-use path runs north, following along the banks of the Eastern Canal, from Warner Road to Guadalupe Road. A shade structure, fashioned after Leonardo da Vinci's flying machine, and an outdoor classroom that celebrates science, flight, and imagination, is the terminus of the trail at the Town's Riparian Preserve. This rest node was situated amongst an existing grove of Mesquite trees. Angled seat walls surround the plaza and have light reflected off them to offer a warm glow to the area at night. Minimizing light pollution was critical to the observatory that is located at the Riparian Preserve. The structure itself serves as a sundial and relates the time through gaps in the seat walls and sandblasted numbers on the ground plane. Additionally a kinetic art wall was developed with unique elements to capture the power of the wind. Inspirational quotes of science and flight are sandblasted into the plaza around the structure.

Services provided by J2 for this project included the evaluation of the proposed multi-use path site. J2 worked closely with the Arizona Department of Transportation, Salt River Project, and the Town of Gilbert to develop the path. The project utilizes both Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality and American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funding for construction.

Zanjero Park, Town of Gilbert, Arizona

J2 was the was responsible for the landscape architectural and portions of the civil engineering design of the 20 acre Zanjero Park, a regional park for the Town of Gilbert. Additionally, the park serves as an online detention basin for the Loop 202L - Santan Freeway. The park was built by three different construction phases including hard bid and the Construction Manager at Risk process.

Services provided by J2 for this project included the evaluation of the proposed park site and working closely with the Arizona Department of Transportation in the development of the retention basin with the future park in mind. J2 developed a park master plan to accommodate the Town's desired features and functions, developed design themes, administered public involvement and created the park's final set of construction documents. Zanjero Park was designed as a passive, multi-use park with three primary functions. J2 designed the park to serve as an equestrian node and trail head for the region, a passive use park, and as a tribute to the Valley's Zanjeros (water deliverers) through a beautiful water feature. The park provides a glimpse into the past with an eye to the future.

J2's design provides a place for equestrian trail riding. The 20 acre park has two custom designed ramada areas with horse tie ups, gabion basket seat walls, and horse troughs. There is almost a mile of equestrian trail meandering through the contoured basin with connections to the Town's multi-use Santan Trail system. The ramadas are interpretive hay barns and mesquite bosques are planted along water harvest swales. In addition, a large portion of the basin was planted with a native wildflower and grass seed mix. The water feature is reminiscent of a stand pipe and turnout structure delivering water through an old irrigation ditch and a series of slide gate weirs that wind their way to the bottom collection pond.

Wall Aesthetics, City of Avondale, Town of Gilbert, and City of Scottsdale, Arizona

J2 Engineering and Environmental Design, LLC has formed a unique niche in developing public art through the manipulation of concrete. J2 has worked closely with municipal agencies to develop conceptual ideas and themes for use in adorning bridge abutments, sound walls, bridge piers, and retaining walls. J2 takes the project from concept generation, through public involvement, development of construction documents, and finishing with construction observations.

The City of Avondale wanted to celebrate the City's unique heritage including the Agua Fria River that served as one of the City's foundations and a look towards the future with its current and growing interest in motor racing. Each of these unique themes was represented through the unique designs created by J2 to enhance all vertical and horizontal elements associated with a freeway widening project. The theme developed for the 107th Avenue Bridge reflected the racing heritage associated with the City of Avondale and its on-going development of its race track and the new automotive college and automotive based commercial development associated with the 107th Avenue intersection. A 1/4 mile long sound wall utilized the Agua Fria River as its theme; J2 created a unique masonry wall pattern of reed grasses and sculptural wall attachments of dragonfly wings. The overpass at Avondale Boulevard also used the Agua Fria for inspiration and provided graphic reliefs of egrets, dragonflies, and cattails in the bridge abutments.

The Town of Gilbert hired J2 to assist them in the creation and development of the wall aesthetics that adorn the traffic interchanges and bridge structures throughout the SR 202L Santan Freeway. With Gilbert's strong ties to the railroad and their agricultural past they wanted to celebrate this theme along the freeway corridor. J2 developed conceptual designs, construction documents, and specifications for train based graphics that appear on all the wing walls along the corridor. Because of the freeway alignment, the existing Greenfield Road alignment was shifted to the west and renamed Santan Village Parkway. With this realignment came a roadway that had to go under the existing Union Pacific Railroad tracks and 20 foot tall retaining walls. A public artist developed conceptual sketches of various historic train images, J2 developed those sketches into construction documents that allowed those images to be cast into the retaining walls creating one of the most unique roadways in the State.

J2's design staff served in the capacity of project management and was responsible for developing, as part of a design team composed of a public artist and a local architect, the aesthetic treatment that were incorporated into each SR 101L Pima Freeway structure located within Scottsdale from Via Linda Drive to Scottsdale Road. This work included development and design of the overall concept for each structure including drainage channels, retaining walls, sound walls and bridges, intensive public involvement, production of the construction documents and cost estimates and close coordination with ADOT, the consulting engineers, and the City of Scottsdale. The project is a one of a kind example of the diverse forms and textures that are possible in concrete. The unique design of saguaro ribs, lizards, Native American symbols, and prickly pear cactus create a truly unique piece of art inspired by the Sonoran Desert.



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November 19, 2019, 2:49 am PDT

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