Creating a Community Splash Pad: Benefits and Pre-Planning

Planning a community splash pad can be an intimidating process. There are many aspects to consider in order to make the investment a success. In this series, we will be offering guidance on what to expect, steps to take, and elements to consider during the planning process!

There are many benefits to investing in a community splash pad. One of the long-term benefits is the revenue that residents and non-residents bring into the community along with the added appeal of living in that area. Attracting people means attracting money and patronage to the community. Patrons eat at restaurants, go to movies, buy gas, and go shopping whether they are living there or visiting. Adding to inclusive play opportunities for children is another important benefit. People who are looking for inclusive areas that are built with their children in mind can appreciate design intended for their kids’ physical and mental needs. Inclusive water play may be one of the only public areas that caters to all ages and abilities. Overall, splash pads can benefit a community both socially and economically.

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Pre-Planning Steps

Progressive cities should develop a coordinated system of parks and open space to meet the recreation aspects of urban life. This system, when properly planned, will maintain a consistent ratio between the park system and the developing population. The system will also develop a program consistent with the specific needs of the population. Finally, the system will develop a plan for future development to meet the demands of a growing population.

During the planning and development phase public officials should have an in depth knowledge of the communities needs based on resources, age demographics, future community growth, maintenance capabilities, expansion, location and funding. This should be accomplished based on past history and future expectations.

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History of the Park & Recreation Department: The first section of a plan gives the community a historical context in which to view the department and provides details as to how and why city leaders determined the need and created the department. This section is relevant to the plan because it allows the plan user and community to discover the progress which has already been made in parks and recreation in the city.

Introduction to a Master Plan: This section briefly describes that many progressive cities adopt coordinated parks system plans and explains the purposes of the plan. The section provides a preview of the contents of the overall master plan. Plus, it will define the overall park system by type and size facility. It will then project future needs both in terms of land and physical fixtures. Finally, it will provide a basis for a long-range capital improvements program, and provide for flexibility in the design and construction of individual parks.

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Analysis of the City: A section detailing information on demographics, projected population, and observed needs of the city’s existing and future population. This is an important section of the plan because it details who will be utilizing the splash pad in the future and what their recreational needs may be.

Profile of the Existing Parks and Recreation System: This section details the size, location, and facilities of each park, and all programs currently sponsored by local sports associations as well as the parks department. This section is important to the plan in that it provides information in which a sort of “state of the system” or status of the parks system may be ascertained.

These sections provide a complete overview of the scope of a recreation facility project such as a splash pad and can be referenced by all those involved for a more cohesive understanding of the details of the project.

Stay tuned for the next installment of in our series about creating a community splash pad!

Case Study: Honoring Paco Sanchez Through Play

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Case Study: Honoring Paco Sanchez Through Play

 

Client:  Denver Parks and Recreation

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Goal: Engage with citizens to find the right design to honor the community and local heroes while revitalizing the underutilized space into an  eye-catching destination to be used for years to come.

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Solution: Community members, Denver parks and Recreation, and Landscape Structures Inc communicated and collaborated to come up with the design of Paco Sanchez park featuring a custom microphone component to pay homage to local DJ Paco Sanchez while promoting health and wellness within the community through play. An elevated bridge to the tower allows children and adults of all abilities to experience structure. This created a park environment where locals and people outside the area would be drawn to its unique design and functionality. The success of the park has become an example for other areas to take note of for how to keep communities active.

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Click to read the full story of Paco Sanchez Park

Barb’s Day of Honor 2019

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Barb’s Day of Honor is celebrated at Landscape Structures Inc. every year on March 4th since losing the day’s namesake and Landscape Structures co founder, Barb King in 2008. Her legacy lives on through her many lifetime accomplishments and the way she impacted those around her. This positive influence is evident in the many stories and anecdotes shared by friends, family, and coworkers on this day.

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“Our highest purpose is to make a difference in the world – create a better place for children and families.”

Barb King
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One of Barb’s personal passions was advocating for healthier lifestyles for children and sparking an appreciation of nature in them. Barb founded the non profit Säjai® Foundation in honor of this commitment. Their mission is focused on teaching children the value of healthy living and encouraging an exploration  of the outdoors. This legacy continues through the merging of the Säjai® Foundation with Camp Fire in May 2013. Camp Fire serves more than 250,000 youths and families through outdoor activities with an emphasis on camping.
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Search our hashtag #HonoringBarbKing on Instagram or Twitter to read more about Barb King’s personal impact on others (or to add your own story!) or check out our Barb King Day post on Facebook.
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Barb’s Inspiration Park (Delano, MN)

Case Study: Play Reimagined

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Client: City of Denver Parks and Recreation Department

Landscape Architect: Dig Studio, Denver, Colo.

Goal: Get children and families outdoors and encourage life-long active and healthy lifestyles in a revitalized park environment.

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Solution: The giant 1950’s microphone-inspired tower heralds the horizon, but the built-in play value is what really makes this park honoring local radio DJ Paco Sanchez truly extraordinary. Brilliant colors and bold presence aside, it’s the imaginative use of the musical references that do the hard work of delivering dynamic play. Notes and scales offer footholds. Sound waves create netted climbing adventures. Chimes travel with kids as they run across the bridge.

Read more about how the City of Denver Parks and Recreation Department engaged the community and its culture through the transformation of Paco Sanchez Park.

Honored for her business innovation, leadership and legacy

Our cofounder, Barb King (1946-2008) was recently inducted into the Minnesota Women Business Owners Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was created to honor women entrepreneurial leaders and the first of 25—20 living and 5 posthumous—representing 150 years of Minnesota business history were inducted on April 25. Barb was honored for her business innovation, leadership and the legacy she left for future generations of Minnesota business women.

Barb King, cofounder of Landscape Structures, served as president until her passing in 2008.

Barb was the president of Landscape Structures until her passing in 2008, and was committed to children throughout her life. She was passionate about showing them how to lead healthier lives and to appreciate nature. In addition to cofounding Landscape Structures with her husband, Steve King, Barb founded and was the benefactor of the Säjai® Foundation. The Foundation is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to working with local communities to educate children about how to live a healthier life by encouraging them to get outdoors, be active and make smart nutrition decisions.

Landscape Structures employees at Barb King Inspiration Park in Delano

Landscape Structures employees at Barb King Inspiration Park in Delano

All of us employees are proud to have known Barb. She was our passionate colleague, friend, mentor, confidant and much more, and we constantly strive to celebrate her inspiring life. Learn more about Barb here, where you can read past articles written about her, browse photos of her in professional and personal settings, and watch a video to get a sense of who Barb was and see the positive impact she had on so many people.

Creating healthy, active kids

In the past four decades, obesity rates in the U.S. have soared. This increase is seen most dramatically among youth. More than 23 million children and teenagers ages 2 to 19 are considered obese or overweight—a statistic that health experts consider an epidemic. While these stats seem dismal, opportunities exist to make changes. And September—Childhood Obesity Awareness Month—is a great time to take action.

At Landscape Structures, we create play products that encourage children of all abilities to get outside, play together and be healthy. Our Cofounder Barb King (1946-2008) was passionate about showing kids how to lead healthier lives and to appreciate nature, which is why she created the Säjai® Foundation, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching children the value of living a healthier life by encouraging them to experience the outdoors, be active and make smart nutrition choices. Establishing the Säjai Foundation was one of Barb’s greatest achievements, and the Foundation is proud to continue her work.

The Säjai Foundation is hosting the Amazing Walk! on Saturday, Sept. 29, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the North Mississippi Regional Park in Minneapolis. The Amazing Walk! isn’t your typical 5K. During the event, you can try your hand at geocaching, parkour, dancing, wall-climbing and much more. This is the Foundation’s second annual Amazing Walk!, which is intended to help bring awareness to the work being done to battle childhood obesity.

Learn more about the Säjai Foundation and its Wise Kids programs, and get registered to participate in the Amazing Walk!