Meijer Park Phase I . RE:Invention of A Community park. RE: Invention of a Community Park. Placemaking and Connecting Points of Interest Phase I -Why a Splash Pad Funding and Partners. Placemaking and Connecting Points of Interest.
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RE:Invention of A Community park
One of the dominant theories of community economic development today is called placemaking.
In general, the theory states that people and wealth are mobile assets that can be retained and attracted by communities. Further, educated young people, creative people and well-financed entrepreneurs can and do choose to live in places that are engaging, welcoming, diverse and offer a wide range of cultural and natural amenities. That is, vibrant communities that offer many options for learning, playing and social engagement are places most of us actually want to live. These are the places that job-creating entrepreneurs, as well as creative and educated workers, will naturally gravitate to. From this perspective, economic development requires a focus on making communities amenity-rich, attractive places.
Without a doubt, some of the most important amenities and key attractions are parks, playgrounds, trails and pathways, heritage landscapes, and recreation programs.
For several years, splash pads and spray grounds have been identified as desired amenities for all types of recreational environments.
Community Enhancement Splash play areas provide a unique way of bringing vitality to communities. They bring families together, provide refreshment on a hot summer day, and have the potential to become a gathering point where bonds are formed.
Healthy Play Parents, citizens, and community leaders have taken on the role of ensuring the health and well-being of children and future generations. While kids flock to splash pads for fun, the pads are ideal venues to help develop and maintain active bodies and minds, especially in the following areas:
• Motor skills and coordination• Aerobic capacity• Muscular strength• Agility and reflexes• Cognitive and sensorial learning.
The concept of “play for all” or “inclusive play” also is inherent in splash pads. Their zero-depth nature and easily maneuverable features make them accessible to people of all abilities and ages. Cross-generational play is achieved through age-appropriate sections or “bays,” allowing every member of the family to benefit from quality interactions.
Less time is required to upkeep the system, and the need for trained staff and lifeguards is lessened, therefore reducing labor costs.
The structures are built to be durable and resistant to vandalism, making repairs and parts replacement minimal.
An increasingly popular option to generate revenue from–or to simply cover the costs for–splash pads is the “pay for play” concept. By charging minimal or no fees to residents, and slightly higher fees to non-residents, spray parks can deliver funds to a department. Considering that pools often have entry fees, visitors are typically willing to spend the money for this experience.
Interchangeable anchoring systems, along with careful planning during the design phase, allow a community to add a splash pad that fits within a budget, while having the capability to add new play products at a later date, stretching the overall cost over several years.
The anchoring system is put in place during the construction phase; the necessary piping is installed, and the unused anchor points are covered with spray caps until new features are ready to be installed. This allows communities to enhance and alter a splash pad over the years by interchanging elements within one splash pad, or even switching products from one splash pad to another one in the community. This refreshes the experience of users without additional cost.
Recirculation systems and capture-and-repurposing systems offer advanced technology for water management, and serve as water-conservation options, as opposed to traditional drain-away systems. They allow effluent water to be contained, filtered, disinfected, and redistributed in a closed circuit, or for the water to be collected and transferred to a containment reservoir to be repurposed to irrigation, leach, or replenishment systems.
Certain physical attributes of the play structures can also reduce water usage. Play features are activated by users on demand only; water isn’t consumed beyond user interaction. The features can also be sequenced so that water flow from feature to feature is distributed proportionally, as opposed to all at once, and will automatically shut off after a set period of time.
High-efficiency nozzles are available in some water features, which reduce the amount of water being expelled.