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The nonprofit established by the founder of the Rennebohm Drug Store chain has committed $50,000 to construct modern, eco-friendly water parks at Reindahl Park on the east side and Elver Park on the west side.
The city of Madison has committed to 85 percent of the $2 million project but is seeking private donations to cover the remaining $300,000. Private fundraising is being handled through the Madison Parks Foundation.
“We’re thrilled by the generosity of the Oscar Rennebohm Foundation, which continues to leave a legacy of philanthropy throughout Madison,” Stephanie Franklin, executive director of the Madison Parks Foundation, said in a statement. “As longtime community stewards, they identify with the need to provide safe, healthy and fun opportunities for kids and families across the city.”
In addition to the Rennebohm donation, the Parks Foundation has commitments of $50,000 from the Evjue Foundation, the charitable arm of The Capital Times; $10,000 from American Family Insurance and $50,000 from the Madison Community Foundation.
Construction is slated for this spring, with the two splash parks scheduled to open in August. They will both feature interactive water attractions with spray toys and fountains. City officials are estimating some 15,000 visitors to the new facilities annually.
“Splash parks are a wonderful complement to our public beaches and Goodman Pool,” says Kevin Briski, city of Madison Parks Superintendent, in a statement.
Reindahl Park is located at 1818 Portage Road, just off of East Washington Avenue. It features a major soccer complex, community gardens and tennis courts. The splash park is among several new improvements planned there by the city including athletic facility enhancements and new shelter landscaping.
Elver Park on the southwest side at 1250 McKenna Blvd. is the largest park in Madison and features a playground, softball and soccer fields, and a disc golf course in the summer and sledding, lighted cross-country skiing and ice skating in the winter.
The city previously built a smaller splash park at Cypress Park on the south side.
Schools Business Administrator Christopher Tully said installation of the early warning system will begin Saturday, weather permitting.
A transmitter will be installed at Bergenfield High School. Sirens will be there, as well as Hoover School, Roy W. Brown Middle School, Cooper’s Pond, Hickey Field, the PAL complex, Ross Applegate Park and Veterans Memorial Park.
The total cost of the system is $56,220, but the borough and school board are splitting the expense.
According to a proposal by Wisconsin-based Commercial Recreation Specialists, which sells the equipment manufactured by Arizona-based Wxline, the system detects lightning strikes up to 20 miles away.
The system, branded with the name “Strike Guard,” is better than first-generation lightning sensors, the proposal claims.
Both cloud lightning and cloud-to-ground lightning may be monitored, while patented technology prevents false alarms.
The proposal states, ” ‘Strike Guard’ enables automated initiation of lightning evacuation plans, data backup, generator activation and equipment shutdown procedures with utmost confidence.”
New Milford officials last year teamed with the Borough of River Edge, as well as the River Edge K-6 district, to install the same lightning detection equipment at parks and schools.
In neighboring Dumont, which has been outfitted with a system for some time, officials last year considered an amended ordinance that would have created a policy for vacating outdoor recreation facilities, such as the swim club, in case of lightning. The proposed law included fines for violators.
It passed on first reading in August, but wasn’t adopted.
If you have water, you have an amenity that can be transformed into a huge attraction. From small-scale projects at campgrounds to large-scale city parks and riverwalk projects, municipalities of all sizes are taking a serious look at how to get the most out of their natural assets, finding ways to re-imagine those spaces and even profit from it.
Although each project is unique, almost all of them begin with an un-utilized or under-utilized facility, either a pool or waterfront.
“The first step is to clearly understand the specific goals of the project,” explained Peter Arpag, a brand manager for a manufacturer of inflatables, headquartered in Durham, N.C. “It pays to do preliminary research to fully understand any limitations, regulations and restrictions for the project. This could range from facility limitations such as water depth to regulatory needs like permits for waterfront moorage.”
Inflate Your Water
Waterfront aqua parks featuring inflatables, docks and more may require permits at the municipal, state or even federal level depending on the site. Sometimes these permits are easy to get, while at other times permitting can be a long, slow process. Typically, the process is aided by having respect for potential environmental impacts and a desire to find good multi-use solutions.
Many parks and recreation departments have under-used pool facilities whose funding is in jeopardy. In this situation, spending more money can be a difficult step. One of the advantages of installing an aqua park system using inflatables is that the cost is relatively low compared to fixed waterslides and other amenities, while the attraction factor is quite high. This is a great advantage when it comes to budgetary constraints, because it’s easy to show a strong return on investment, Arpag said.
Besides the relatively low cost and a strong ROI, many parks appreciate the flexibility of inflatable aqua parks. Having the ability to strategically re-task a part of the facility to increase traffic during key hours without the full commitment of a permanent structure is one of the more important aspects of a system. In some cases, it can take about 30 minutes to convert three swim lanes into an open-swim area that will excite and engage 30 or more participants. Once open-swim is over, the space can be easily re-tasked for lap swimmers.
Published in Playground Magazine- May, 2013 – Click here to view original article
See photos of our Puerto Rico Salvation Army install in the Playground Portfolio.
When officials from The Salvation Army Eastern Territory decided to upgrade the playground equipment at eight of their youth camp properties and one large community worship center in Puerto Rico, they knew they needed to work with a company that understood the importance of safety, as well as the importance of play. “Our first priority is the safety of the children in our care so it was critical that the new play equipment meet our high standards in that area but we also wanted to put a strong emphasis on fun,” says Robert Jones, Assistant Risk Manager for the Eastern Territory. “We wanted the new playgrounds to be something different – we wanted to give the kids something that would really wow them.”
With these priorities in mind, Jones contacted Commercial Recreation Specialists (CRS) of Verona, Wis., a provider of Xccent Play, a line of play equipment that specializes in promoting active, non-scripted play. Their revolutionary, moving equipment with ultra-safe polymer hinges is like a kid magnet, attracting kids of all ages and abilities to play and work together. Their many independent pieces are combinable and allow for flexibility in layout to accommodate different age groups. These features were important to The Salvation Army. Each year thousands of children enjoy its summer camp programs and the playgrounds get a lot of use. “We may have up to a hundred kids playing at any one time,” says Jones. “It’s also important that the playground equipment caters to a broad age range—anywhere from 7 to 14 years old.”
To accommodate this diversity, CRS installed in each of the ten playgrounds a combination of Xccent’s Triax curved, three-post deck systems, which included fun slides, challenging climbers and intriguing rooftops. They also installed independent pieces such as the X-Wave 2, an innovative see-saw that attracts groups of children to “ride the wave,” or the Rock N’ Rider, a momentum-building, muscle-testing, boat-like rocker. Camp Swoneky, in Oregonia, Ohio, added additional play elements from Playland and SportsPlay to their order, as well as waterfront pieces to enhance their lake recreation experience. Because the youth camps are summer-oriented, timely installation of the playgrounds was another crucial factor. Knowing they had “a lot to do, in not a lot of time,” CRS Principal Rich Wills dedicated the project to meeting its June 15 deadline. “We had worked with CRS in the past and had confidence in them,” says Jones. “They came through, as usual. They coordinated the removal of the old equipment, helped us select our new playground pieces, and then installed them. They did this for ten playgrounds in two months’ time.”
So how do the children like the new playgrounds?
“They definitely had the ‘wow’ factor,” says Jones. “The kids love them. We had an unbelievably positive response.”
Contact us or call toll-free 877-896-8442 to discuss planning your next playground project!
CRS Helps Transform Stoughton’s Troll Beach to “Best of the Best”
CRS is again a proud recipient of the Wisconsin Parks and Recreation Association (WPRA) Outstanding Aquatics Facility Design Award. Together with the City of Stoughton Parks & Recreation Department, CRS’ team of aquatic play specialists won the 2012 award for helping to transform the city’s 52-year-old natural swimming pond into an award-winning water-based family entertainment center.
“Stoughton’s new aquatic facility is the best of the best,” says Steve Thompson, CEO of WPRA. The association’s 2,400 members represent the parks, recreation and therapeutic recreation industries throughout Wisconsin.
Two years ago, Stoughton’s swimming pond, then named Mandt Park Pool, was a declining “mud hole,” as locals affectionately called it. Competition from large regional water parks left little interest for what was once a prized community aquatic recreation facility. Last year, CRS helped change that.
In 2012, Stoughton brought in CRS to help them renovate the area and develop a Water-Based Family Entertainment Center, complete with themed site amenities and coordinating signage compatible with its new name, “Troll Beach.” With the addition of a commercial shade structure and aquatic inflatables including the 16’ Aquaglide Summit Express, Free Fall 6, the Wibit Splasher and AquaTrack, the community’s enthusiasm for the pond exploded. According to Troll Beach’s data, its attendance doubled from the year before and its revenue increased by 400 percent.
“Stoughton’s Troll Beach is a great example of how inflatable modules can immediately and actively revitalize a community’s water-based recreation,” says CRS President Ron Romens. “We’re excited to win the WPRA Outstanding Aquatic Facility award with Stoughton. It is an honor being involved with an award winning facility once again.”
Check out this video to hear from some of our successful waterfront customers.
To learn more about transforming your location into a winning attraction, click here or call us at 877-896-8442 to start planning your next project!]]>
CRS Designs & Builds Customized Courses for Colorado YMCA Centers
When directors at YMCA of the Rockies began thinking about upgrades to their Colorado family vacation and conference centers at Estes Park and Snow Mountain Ranch, they knew the 1960s-era miniature golf courses would have to be a big part of the plan.
According to Julie Watkins, who serves as vice president for the association’s advancement, “as a non-profit organization, we were going into a capital campaign to raise funds for various projects. Our mini golf courses were a high priority because of their appeal to our guests.”
Given the unique geographical characteristics of the two different locations and the extreme weather constraints, such a project presented big challenges.
That’s when Commercial Recreation Specialists (CRS) of Verona, Wisconsin first stepped up to the green. CRS worked with the centers from the beginning to determine a realistic budget, develop custom theming that enhanced each location’s unique character, and generate professional renderings to garner interest in and financial support of the capital campaign. “Working with CRS was a smooth process,” says Watkins. “We provided a vision and they made it happen.”
CRS and YMCA of the Rockies teamed together to develop detailed plans for two custom-themed, ADA-approved, 27-hole miniature golf courses, specifically designed to fit the topography and personality of each location. Each center’s course included a 9-hole toddler course with bigger cups and easier obstacles, and a more challenging 18-hole course for older children and adults.
After plans were finalized and funding approved, CRS completed the courses in just three weeks for each location—Estes Park Center in May and Snow Mountain Ranch in June of last year. “At 9000 feet in elevation, they have long winters and short summers,” says CRS principal Rich Wills. “We had to coordinate the installation between weather concerns and adjust the construction materials to accommodate dramatic temperature changes.”
And how do YMCA guests like the new courses? “They love them,” says Estes Park grounds maintenance supervisor Kelly Wilkerson. “Last summer our guests played 41,000 rounds in three months. That’s a lot of golf!”
The new courses have done more than bring adventure to guests—they are helping YMCA of the Rockies fulfill one of its major goals, that of bringing families together. “Three-year-olds to 90-year-olds can play these courses,” says Wilkerson. “Families are spending time together and they come back day after day.”
To learn more about our Custom Adventure-Style Miniature Golf Courses, click here or call us at 877-896-8442 to start planning your next project!]]>
The inflatable obstacle course was added in 2011. The Wibit product line consists of interlocking and stand-alone modules made of PVC material and stainless steel parts designed to withstand all climates and bodies of water, according to the German manufacturer. In Ridgewood, the Wibit also withstood scrutiny prior to its purchase and installation. The city council and general public voiced concerns about the Wibit’s suitability, ranging from aesthetics to safety and maintenance issues. After all, Graydon Pool is essentially a rustic swimming hole in a bucolic setting right in the center of town. Because of the pool’s visibility from the street, no one wanted to plop something in the water that would be “too distracting or carnival-like,” said Rich Wills, vice president of Commercial Recreation Specialists (CRS), the Verona, Wis.-based company that supplied the Wibit. CRS addressed the concerns in a series of meetings over six months.
It hasn’t been bad for business at Graydon Pool. “The colors alone on the Wibit attract the younger kids,” Cronin said. Prior to the Wibit’s unveiling, the parks and recreation department stoked curiosity with a “teaser” marketing campaign, deploying neon-green posters and T-shirts that simply said “Wibit.” Of course, people wondered what the heck a Wibit was, and before long, they found out. The line consists of 24 linkable products. Graydon Pool features the Aquatrack, a preconfigured obstacle course measuring 54 feet long. Swimmers of all ages use different muscle groups, balance and agility to negotiate each element.
“One of the benefits of this product is most kids are doing a lot of passive recreation—sitting in front of laptops and tablets. With the Wibit, kids are getting exercise and don’t recognize it,” Wills said. “It’s like a playground on water.” The floating device is anchored, but there’s some play in the anchor lines, “so you have to maintain your balance as you stand,” he added. “Your core strength is being utilized the whole time you’re on the product. It’s possible to lose your grip or balance and fall into the water, a thrill that kids compare to the TV show ‘Wipe Out’, though there are no high-impact falls”, Wills said.
Choosing the right inflatable pool products depends on pool dimension, water depth and available staffing. Maintenance is not a huge chore, but at the end of the season, the products must be deflated, treated with UV protectant and stored indoors in containers. Failure to follow these instructions could lead to an unpleasant surprise come the following season, as rodents like to chew on the material. “If you just take it and put it in a shed, you’ll end up with a Swiss cheese-looking product,” Wills warned. “It’s important to protect the investment by packing it up and putting it away properly.”
The Aquatrack cost $13,000 and is expected to last 10 years, yielding a return on investment after two or three years of ownership through increased membership, day pass and concessions sales.
“When facilities put something like this in, one of the objectives is to keep guests on the premises. If people are having a good time, they’ll stay longer and hopefully spend a few more dollars,” Wills said. Wibit products lend themselves to creative programming, from birthday parties to planned or spontaneous competitions. “Each facility has the ability to pull together almost a water Olympics,” Wills said.
Graydon Pool’s Wibit is available for free play (users must pass a deep water swim test), but at certain times, patrons are required to sign up, and sign-up sheets fill quickly. The Wibit 50-Meter Splash generated a lot of community interest and a satisfying turnout. It will be the first of many annual relay and community Wibit events at throughout the coming seasons.
To learn more about transforming your location into a winning attraction, click here or call us at 877-896-8442 to start planning your next project!
Click here for the official article in Recreation Management.]]>