CAMERON CLEMENTS, LEED® AP
LAND PLANNER/URBAN DESIGN
I recently had the opportunity to be involved with the design team for the new playground at Palmetto Islands County Park. For the first time in my professional career, I was able to hold meetings on a swing set and test out new playground equipment which is not your typical day at the office. The playground was designed with imagination and interaction in mind. The team wanted to create an innovative and exciting new play space that would meet the needs of children’s physical and social growth.
The playground equipment is physically challenging to the new user and also encourages kids to come back time and time again. To help enhance social skills, we provided spaces for children to have more personal talks with their friends and other children. These spaces are equipped with fun hammock seats that allow children the opportunity to talk face to face and develop valuable communication skills. There are also shaded picnic areas for parents and families that have become the new hot spot for birthday parties. We provided seating areas throughout the park and within the play spaces so parents won’t miss any of the action. There are separate play areas for 2-5 year olds and 5-12 year olds. The climbing boulder and sand play area is appropriate for all ages and promotes interaction between the younger and older kids. And for those hot summer days, there is a mist pole for cooling off.
Not only is the playground beneficial to its users, it is also environmentally sensitive. We utilized recycled materials whenever feasible. The equipment is comprised of recycled aluminum and 30% recycled steel. The equipment is also PVC and Phthalates free. The benches are made from recycled plastic and the colorful rubberized surface is made from 100% recycled tires and is 100% pervious. This surface material allowed us to position the playground within the Live Oaks on the site without harming the trees. We also used only native plant material that doesn’t require irrigation and also provides habitat for the surrounding wildlife. I hope everyone in their professional career has an opportunity to design for children. This was such a fun and rewarding project.