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A Fun Salute
Temecula, California

by Mike Dahl, LASN


In Temecula, California, Veterans Park needed a playground upgrade and the city wanted it to be themed. Coast Recreation, a manufacturer's rep for Landscape Structures playground equipment won the RFP (request for proposal) design contest with the help of designers from the equipment manufacturer. The 50' x 50' play area includes a jet-shaped climber and a play structure with silhouettes of armed forces personnel, the emblems of all six branches and messages of appreciation aEUR" all crowned by a metal representation of a military plane.

What should a park named "Veterans" include? A military-themed play area for 5- to 12-year-olds and fitness stations for the older crowd of course. And given those broad guidelines, Coast Recreation created a design that won the city of Temecula, California's RFP (request for proposal) contest.


The play structure was built from steel, aluminum, roto-molded plastic, permalene plastic and nylon cabling, with wood chips for its surface. The double swoosh slide, which because of its steep angle provides a fast descent, was meant to represent the speed of jet fighters.

Coast is a rep for a handful of recreation equipment and site amenities manufacturers including Landscape Structures, which they have exclusive representation for in five counties in Southern California. They usually collaborate with the designers at the manufacturing company to plot out play areas within renderings from landscape architects.

"They (landscape architects) typically want the manufacturer or manufacturer's rep to be responsible for everything inside the play area for liability reasons," relates Gregg Rogers, an owner at Coast, which is a partnership. "They don't have the time or the expertise to meet all the codes and all the regulations, nor do they want to. That's why they get our designers involved to lay it out and make sure all the equipment fits."


A bongo panel was added to the design as a tribute to the military marching band tradition.

In the case of Veterans Park, the play area measured about 50 feet square. The directions included providing as much play value as possible with the thematic spin of honoring military veterans aEUR" all to replace a 25-year-old piece of equipment.

"You have a number of variables, constraints that you have to stay within from a reality standpoint," Rogers explains when describing the design process. "And then once you do the rendering, they can give comments such as modify this. In this particular case, they didn't. I guess we hit it right on the button, the first time out."


To create the silhouette of this iconic image from World War II, the equipment manufacturer's proprietary process, Digifuse, in which a photo image is fused onto a steel panel, was used. This provides crisp, clear images without having to use paint or stencils.

So the pool of designers at the equipment manufacturer and the team at Coast, communicating through a web-based program, laid out a play structure with two slides, a flex climber, wiggle ladder, bongo panels, and lots of military images, insignia and messages aEUR" some of them modified from other projects that the manufacturer had done. A climbing and imagination-play piece in the form of a jet was placed next to the play structure. Down the way from it in this linear-shaped park, they added a net climber and a half dozen fitness stations. All of it had to ADA compliant.


The project also included a half dozen fitness stations targeted for 13-year-olds and up. A slope greater than 2 percent presented a bit of a design challenge that was solved by including 18"-deep curbing for the fitness boxes.

The team from Coast conducted a job walk with the city prior to construction and they had a few minor job changes, which were easily accommodated according to Rogers.

Also included in the turnkey proposal was the manufacturer's certified installer, Tot Lot Pros, which Coast relies on frequently, and in the end "the city loved it and if the city is happy then we are happy," Rogers sums up. "And we have been invited back to (participate in) a two-park RFP."

As seen in LASN magazine, September 2018.

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September 18, 2019, 5:54 pm PDT

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