The Park will be the recreation destination that the entire community of Mammoth Lakes will be proud to call their park.
“The entire project was designed emphasizing function and flexibility, ensuring programming informs design. All components of the project were designed to be complementary to and with each other, including connecting with natural features of the park.” Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Truax, Chair, Mammoth Lakes Recreation Commission.
The project became a reality after the adoption of several planning documents, determined participation from community advocates and determined direction from Town Council to relocate the existing and deficient ice rink to Town-owned property.
“The guiding principle builds from the “A Town within a Park” concept to deliver local residents and visitors with high-quality, complementary recreation facilities in the vibrant downtown area.” Mayor, John Wentworth, Mammoth Lakes Town Council.
The Town of Mammoth Lakes hired consultants HMC Architects for architectural and engineering design services to plan the Mammoth Creek Park facilities. The rink will be covered by a 36,000 sq. ft. steel roof partially open on two sides, allowing for a unique, outdoor skating experience with expansive protection from the sun and harsh winter elements. The enclosed and elevated lobby will provide sweeping views of the ice rink and Sherwin mountain range with access to the rink from sloping ramps. Viewing areas and bleachers will be located near center ice, adjacent to the tempered glass. The facility will have adjoining restrooms and team locker rooms, with support space for the ice groomer, chiller and associated mechanical and rink equipment. The existing surface parking lot will be expanded to include an additional 36 spaces for a total of 80 parking spaces on-site. The Park is also connected to the complimentary Town transit system and the Mammoth Lakes Trail System with convenient pedestrian access on town maintained sidewalks.
The stunning project includes five major components: a natural play area, an enhanced playground with inclusive components, community center, RecZone and Olympic-size ice rink. These complementary components are designed to work with existing park features, and combined with community-driven and professional programming will promote a degree of excitement, individual expression, exploration, pleasure, challenge and accomplishment leading to an enhanced quality of life.
The Natural Play Area
The natural play area incorporates a large grass area for open play bordered by tree-lined, gurgling Mammoth Creek. The natural play area is supported by seasonal restrooms and several picnic tables with multi-use paths (MUPS) providing access throughout the natural play area. Parents relax on the grass, while children challenge their bouldering skills on natural rock features and explore the wonders of nature along the banks of Mammoth Creek under the canopy of aspen and pine trees. The natural play area is also used for small public gatherings, sporting events, intimate weddings, fitness classes, and community events like the annual Fourth of July POPS in the Park cultural event.
“Innovative pathway designs infused with play is a paradigm change that could increase children’s walking and biking habits by offering a network of intriguing linear play environments connecting children’s homes to playgrounds and other meaningful, daily life destinations.” PlayCore and Natural Learning Initiative. 2010. Pathways for Play: Best Practice Guidelines.
The goal of the inclusive playground is to unite children, families and community citizens through the power of play. An approximately 7,000 square feet playground is currently located at The Park, however, it is planned to be reconfigured in 2018 to allow for optimal integration with the new facility, including the development of a thoughtfully planned and community-driven inclusive outdoor play environment.
“Inclusion is about providing all people, regardless of ability or age, with equal opportunities to participate fully in a variety of opportunities in the environment in a mutually beneficial and respectful way.” PlayCore and Utah State University, 2010. Me2: 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design.
Community input encompassed playground themes, accessible surfacing, shade, inclusive playground components and even recommendations for eight year olds. The goal is to combine this valuable community input with research-based benefits of play by incorporating the seven principles of inclusive playground design to build a play environment that meets the needs of the entire community.
The Community Center
The Community Center will provide much needed space and associated amenities to satisfy the diverse and growing needs of the community. In addition, the Community Center is designed to support the multitude of year-round events, tournaments and activities programmed at The Park. At around 2,500 square feet with a durable, cushioned floor, ample storage, a family restroom, complimentary Wi-Fi, with audio-visual components as well as access to concessions, the Community Center will be an ideal programmable venue for the community.
“Our goal is create a venue that encourages and facilitates social interaction, cultural enrichment, and builds community through multigenerational connections.” Stuart Brown, Mammoth Lakes Parks and Recreation Director.
The Community Center is designed and programmed to accommodate daily, weekly, monthly and custom community-based events and activities. Developed from extensive community input, the facility will host educational and after school enrichment programs, youth and adult introductory fitness classes, gaming, arts and crafts classes, scheduled meetings, training/certification courses, family support group sessions and parks and recreation theatre productions.
Mammoth Ice Rink
The ice rink is scheduled to operate during the winter months from approximately October to April. Broad community input from several user groups helped inform and build the Playbook for the ice rink. The Olympic-size ice rink allows for a greater diversity of programming, including youth (cross-ice) hockey, figure skating, curling, adult hockey (drop-in/leagues), expanded public skate, which is immensely popular in the resort community, along with learn to skate or play hockey sessions, tournaments, birthday parties and hockey development camps.
“It is wonderful to have an outdoor ice rink in California with breathtaking views of the mountain ranges. Through some of the incredible people in Mammoth Lakes, and my friend Luke Fortune, we started the Calder Classic three years ago with a few teams. This past year we hosted 16 teams over seven incredible days. What an amazing asset for the community and opportunity for the local kids to possibly one day live out their dreams.” Kyle Calder, Canadian former professional ice hockey forward who played in the NHL for the Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks.
Broad community input from several user groups helped inform and build the Playbook for the ice rink. Daily drop-in or frequently programmed activities include: public skating, youth (cross-ice) hockey and adult hockey, along with figure skating. The ice rink will be programmed weekly for curling leagues and learn to skate or play hockey sessions, with special monthly programs such as free skate nights, hockey/curling tournaments, birthday parties and hockey development camps.
In the peak summer months the facility will operate as the RecZone. As the name illustrates, the RecZone will be the place for recreation in Mammoth Lakes delivering all recreation, all the time! With durable, outdoor sports tiles offering excellent traction, ball response and shock absorption, the RecZone will be fully programmed all summer for drop-in, league play, tournaments and special events. It will also be the hub for Parks and Recreation Department summer camps and programs.
“We want to provide a safe and fun place where kids can run free and play hard. From summer camps in the morning, basketball during lunch, arena soccer in the afternoon, to a music festival at night, the RecZone will satisfy the needs of our youth, young adults, and even the young at heart!” Stuart Brown, Mammoth Lakes Parks and Recreation Director.
The Playbook for the RecZone was developed from extensive community input and incorporates daily youth/adult drop-in and league court sports including: basketball, arena soccer, futsal, pickleball, badminton, volleyball, dodgeball, and potentially Pop Tennis or junior USTA programs. The facility will also accommodate adaptive sports such as wheelchair basketball, pickleball and roller hockey. Visiting professional, club, college and school teams can rent the facility, or the public can easily reserve a court or room for birthday parties or social/family gatherings.