Skip Hammann, consultant project manager for the city of Vista, walks around Brengle Terrace Park overlooking Buena Vista Creek. It was nearly three years ago when the Buena Vista Creek Restoration Project was underway — it wrapped up in early 2016.
Hammann has a lot to be happy about. The project garnered the attention of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter of the American Public Works Association. In fact, the renovation received the Public Works Project of the Year Award on May 24 during an annual conference in Mission Bay.
Hammann was on hand to receive the award for the environmental restoration award for projects under $2 million.
“Mayor Faulconer was there — it was a big deal,” said Hammann, noting that Faulconer and his city staff also won awards for different categories.
Hammann said the project concept started several years ago when the city of Vista applied for a grant with the State Water Resources Control Board. The grant was specific to creek restoration and trail restoration projects.
The city was awarded the $1 million grant on June 23, 2015, from the Urban Greening for Sustainable Communities Grant from the California Natural Resources Agency.
According to Hammann, the city received two bids — one for $2 million and the other for $3 million.
“Orion Construction had the best proposal, so the city negotiated with Orion to a $1 million budget,” he said, adding that the creek restoration was about a quarter mile stretch.
Hammann said the project entailed either restoring or replacing three bridges, enhancing the quarter-mile trails within the park with DG and bender board, and removing exotic, invasive plants within the creek and restoring the creek plantings with natives.
Some of the invasive plants consisted of palm trees and were replaced by sycamores. All vegetation was swapped with sustainable vegetation.
“We also added some riprap (rock drop structures) to help reduce the flow of the water through the creek, so it’s not erosive while the plants reestablish and grow — then the third component of it is the storm water treatment,” he said.
Hammann noted that one of the three bridges was in such poor condition that the contractor proposed a new bridge as opposed to restoring the old one.
“They instead did a new prefab bridge at basically the same cost,” he said.
Hammann believes the restoration project enhanced the area in a variety of ways. For environmental purposes, any excess storm water will now control the water going into the creek. Also on the environmental front, it was an optimal planting project for native trees and adding drought-resistant foliage.
“Enhancing the trails was a big component for Vista residents and visitors coming to the park,” Hammann said.
The trails at Brengle Terrace Park connect across the street to the Vista Conservancy Trail, which then branches to the Wildwood Trail.
City of Vista Communications Officer Andrea McCullough said that the Buena Vista Creek Restoration Project was teamwork at its finest, which included city engineering, Hammann and Orion Construction. Together, they came up with innovative designs for the renovation project that saved the city money.
“We were able to stay within that grant funding and delivered the project on time,” McCullough said.