Category Archives: January 2011

Marking Fields For Functionality

Raise your hand if your fields have an identity crisis. Oh, come on. You know what I mean. With all the games that take place on an athletic field–soccer, football, lacrosse, field hockey, softball, kickball–fields have many roles to fill, and depending on where you are geographically, they may be in use year-round. It’s no surprise that there is an increased demand for sports facilities–economic setbacks have led many people to drop gym memberships and take advantage of local programs, … Continue reading

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Good Intentions

If your community is like most, you may either be contacted or have already been contacted by a private community/citizens group about a new playground project that the members think is needed or that they want. How you handle this opportunity is critically important to how successful the venture will be. First, let’s assume that everyone is on board with the need for a new or updated playground. Fast-forward to the end of the process–who is the owner? You are! … Continue reading

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Repurpose Sports Equipment

A couple of years ago, I visited Zambia, where construction was beginning on the $140-million Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, South Africa; it was one of a handful of new stadiums erected to host World Cup games this past summer. During the trip I met Mwale, an engaging 9-year-old, who uses a self-made hammer to chip away at rocks, earning roughly 50 cents a day for painstaking labor under the scorching sun. An orphan–one of the more than 600,000 AIDS orphans … Continue reading

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Planning For Flexibility

Parks and recreation leaders across the country are trying to figure out how to provide a wider variety of programming options to satisfy as many sectors of a community as possible. That means cities must maximize uses at increasingly constrained and overburdened facilities, or build new parks designed to accommodate multiple uses. In the case of Arlington Heights Sports Park–a $13.7-million sports and community-lifestyle amenity located in Riverside, Calif.–the challenge of incorporating the maximum number of athletic fields in a … Continue reading

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Make Water Work

Of the many debates held and decisions made when designing a sports field, the durability of synthetic turf versus the immaculate look, feel and maintenance of natural turf is one of the most divisive for parks and rec officials. Maintenance budgets are being cut, the cost of water is rising, and participation in sports is increasing. As a result, many municipalities and schools are going with the more durable, less-maintenance option. Offering potential LEED points (Leadership in Energy and Environmental … Continue reading

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