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Cranston, R.I., Parks & Rec Receives 2007 National Green Playground Award

From left: Tony Liberatore, director, Cranston, R.I. Parks and Recreation; Cranston Mayor Michael Napolitano; John LaRue of BigToys; and Mark Marchesi, a purchasing agent.
Photo by Ann Marie Harty


BigToys Inc., locally represented by J.P. LaRue, Inc., presented the city of Cranston, Rhode Island and Mayor Michael Napolitano with the 2007 National Green Playground Award, which recognizes excellence in environmental design in commercial playgrounds.

Six playground improvements completed in Cranston in 2007 made extensive use of recycled products and were PVC-free. Recycled materials used included 74,029 recycled milk jugs and 4,980 pounds of reclaimed scrap steel. Environmental impact was kept to a minimum by requiring the new playgrounds be developed within existing boundaries. Natural wood fiber was used as safety surfacing to further reduce the introduction of chemicals into the play environment.

Founded in 1970, Washington state-based BigToys, Inc. ( is focused on environmentally-friendly playground equipment, including removing all PVC from its products.

(Editor’s note: Removing PVCs from the playground was the subject of the Dec. 2007 Playground Column in LASN (

The company also uses recycled steel and plastic and “sustainably harvested wood.”

California Assembly Bill 1108 has banned chemicals that release phalates (PVC additive) in toys for children under three. Rhode Island has a similar bill (HB 7098) that is in committee.

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October 17, 2019, 6:32 am PDT

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