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John Prince Park Launches Boundless Playgrounds Initiative in Lake Worth, Florida

By Lindsay Richardson and Tim Granowitz, ASLA

Photography by Bill Swain, courtesy of Park Structures

The Picower Super Park, with the backdrop of Lake Osborne, is a Boundless Playground in John Prince Park, Palm Beach, Florida.

The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department is in the midst of revitalizing its oldest regional park, John Prince Park, a 700-acre recreational facility located in the greater Lake Worth/West Palm Beach area. The centerpiece of this effort is a Boundless Playground fully integrated and universally accessible to children with disabilities, allowing them to play side by side and share play experiences with their siblings and peers.

Existing trees supply shade from the Florida sun for a large portion of the play area.

The colorful new playground spans four acres along the breezy northern shore of Lake Osborne. A grand opening celebration for the Picower Super Park and Quantum Kids Zone was held on a sunny South Florida afternoon in late November. Over 100 children of all ages and abilities waited eagerly for the ribbon cutting so they could begin playing on this phenomenal playground.

For Mark, 12, who has cerebral palsy, it was the first time in his young life he was able to experience the thrill of swinging, thanks to the specially molded high-back swing seats on the John Prince Park Playground.

The Beta structure utilizes ground level play paths of poured rubber surfacing connected to the play structure, that is surrounded by sand which adds a manipulative play feature to the structure.

This Boundless Playground is a working partnership between public, private and nonprofit agencies working together to better the recreational opportunities available to families of children with disabilities. Boundless Playgrounds is a nonprofit organization devoted to creating play environments where children and adults of all abilities can laugh, play, grow and learn together. The grand opening of John Prince Park is the launch of the Florida Boundless Playgrounds Initiative. The Florida Initiative is a partnership between Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Boundless Playgrounds and playground manufacturers in which the ultimate goal is for the state of Florida to have 50 Boundless playgrounds by 2005. Other states across the country are joining with Boundless Playgrounds to embark on such initiatives to strengthen the availability and usefulness of parks and playgrounds across the country.

One of the children at the grand opening masters the Spin and Win Panel by Park Structures that is designed to allow accessibility for all.

The million dollar project at John Prince Park was made possible in large part from grants by the Picower Foundation, and the Quantum Foundation, who contributed $206,000 and $200,000 respectively toward the cost of playground design, equipment and safety surfacing. These two grants were facilitated through Boundless Playgrounds, Inc. Another $150,000 grant from the Florida Recreational Assistance Program was also secured by the Parks and Recreation Department and used to add sidewalks, parking, fencing, landscaping and restroom renovations. The balance of the project funded by the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners.

The Grand Entrance to the playground is a typical component of Boundless Playgrounds and a great way to acknowledge contributors.

The super park, which overlooks several hundred acres of beautiful Lake Osborne, is situated to take full advantage of the prevailing breeze that gently sweeps across its waters. Existing stands of mature oak trees are incorporated throughout the design and augmented with plantings of oak trees, palms, flowering trees and shrubs, adding color, texture and fragrance. The sensory-rich design of the playground incorporates blues and greens as a primary color scheme, repeated in structural members, decks and the 16,000 sq. ft. of poured-in-place rubber surfacing used throughout the project. Bold accent colors in vibrant reds, blues, greens and yellows add interest to the slides, play panels, tower roofs and climbers. Sound panels, sand and water tables and roller slides add to the value of this multisensory experience.

The Paddle Ball Panel is one of the engaging play features on the new playground at John Prince Park. It helps children develop coordination and rhythm.

Tim Granowitz, ASLA, the principal planner of the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, served as the landscape architect on the project and developed the site plan for this new playground in collaboration with Boundless Playgrounds, Inc., and Park Structures, the manufacturer of the prototypical Boundless Playground equipment featured at the Picower Super Park and Quantum Kids Zone. The expertise of Boundless Playgrounds, Inc., and American Park and Play Playground and Recreation Products was instrumental in creation of these three age-appropriate alpha, beta, and gamma playground equipment structures, geared for children of various physical abilities and developmental play phases.

After playing an integral part in the revitalization efforts of John Prince Park, Palm Beach County Commissioner Warren H. Newell enjoyed time with children of Palm Beach County at the playground grand opening.

"Collaborating with Boundless Playgrounds helps us develop innovative play components for children with disabilities that will become an integral part of our product offering for future projects," commented Tom Casey, corporate vice president of sales and marketing for Park Structures.

The skillful design of these three barrier-free playground structures truly encourages interactive play between children with disabilities and typically developing children while creating an active environment for children to develop individual motor skills and group socialization skills.

Trees, shrubs and sidewalks were used throughout the design to separate different age-appropriate structures.

While most park playgrounds consist of a single main play structure and some accessory swings, this "super park" contains three major play structures, three multibay swing units and room for a future splash and spray playground. The challenge of connecting multiple sets of play equipment, swings and other park amenities into a cohesive whole is solved through a series of curvilinear concrete sidewalks and landscape islands placed to create separation, spatial flow and a progression of play experiences as patrons move through the playground.

The sidewalks provide easy wheel chair access to the poured-in-place rubber safety surfacing that surrounds each of the three age-appropriate structures and related swings. The use of unitary poured-in-place surfacing is ideal for truly accessible playgrounds because it allows children with mobility devices to move with ease throughout the playground.

This particular play area design incorporates poured- in-place, an example of unitary surfacing and wood fiber and sand, both loose fill surfaces.

Amy Jaffe Barzach, co-founder and executive director of Boundless Playgrounds, enthusiastically addresses the crowd at the Grand Opening of the Picower Super Park as the Royal Palm School Chorus anticipates their first moments on the new playground.

Tony Malkusak, director of design for Boundless playgrounds describes the design consideration of play surfaces. "Boundless Playgrounds views surfacing as a play asset and the sensory qualities of surfacing are an opportunity rather than a constraint. The manipulative qualities of wood fiber and sand enhance the play experience."

Park benches, picnic tables and two sitting gazebos are strategically located to allow parents to observe children at play, create opportunities for adult interaction and enhance the overall experience for the entire family. A black vinyl-clad fence contains the entire four-acre playground area and brightly colored arch entranceways welcome everyone who visits this truly inspiring playground. An existing restroom was also renovated and upgraded to include family and ADA accessible bathrooms near the new 50-space parking area with ample parking for patrons with disabilities to facilitate access.

The John Prince Park Boundless Playground is a showcase for universally accessible barrier-free design, and an integral part of the parks and recreation department's effort to enhance recreation opportunities for the disabled in Palm Beach County. Located in beautiful sunny South Florida, this playground is sure to be a year-round hit with local families as well as a destination spot for many tourists visiting the area. The innovative design, quality of equipment, and partnership by knowledgeable professionals involved truly make this project a unique inspiration for future playground projects across the country. For more information:

John Prince Park
West Palm Beach, Florida
Boundless Playground

Principal, Landscape Architect:
Tim Granowitz, ASLA; bachelor of landscape architecture, University of Florida 1977; masters in public administration, College of Urban and Public Affairs, Florida Atlantic University, 1991. Member of the American Society of Landscape Architects since 1985; Florida State Board of Landscape Architects, registered landscape architect since 1977.

Boundless Playground Safety Surfacing Materials

Poured-in-Place Rubber Surfacing*

New Play Areas
Square Footage

1.) Alpha Play Group Area
(50% green/ black mix) 5,500
2.) Gama Play Group Area
(50% blue/ black mix) 6,750
3.) Alpha Swings
(50% green/ black mix) 1,250
4.) Gama Swings
(50% blue/ black mix) 2,500

Total Area: 16,000

Poured-in-place rubber safety surfacing based on  50/50 color mix - 5/8" cap with alifatic binder (top) over 3-inch black rubber base, on top of 4-inch #57 stone sub-base with petromat liner top and bottom.

Engineered "Wood Fiber" Mulch**

Square Footage
1.) Existing Boat Play Group Area 1,250
2.) Existing Swing Area 1,750
Total Area: 3,000

** 10" depth blown in place over petromat liner

Course Trap Sand***

  Square Footage
1.) Beta Play Group Area 1,800

***10" depth over petromat liner

Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation Department
Picower Super Park
Featuring the Quantum Kids Zone

John Prince Park, Lake Worth, Florida

Age appropriate play opportunities for children 2-12 of all development levels and abilities, including:
  1. Metal roller slide for movement activity avoids electro-static discharge which may de-program cochlear implants
  2. Cozy spots under play platforms for quiet, independent play especially enjoyed by children with autism
  3. Ramps allow all children to experience the highest places in a safe environment
  4. Balance beams and stepping pods support children with Down Syndrome to improve equilibrium
  5. Rigorous, challenging, and sensory-rich activities to allow all children to play at their highest potential
  6. (2) 24' gazebo shelters with benches (S & F Construction, Inc.)
  7. (12) picnic tables (8) accessible) (DuMor, Inc.)
  8. (8) benches (DuMor, Inc.)
  9. (2) water fountains
  10. Fencing
  11. Landscaping (Vila and Son Landscaping Corp.) Irrigation
  12. (50) additional parking spaces
Play Environment Specialist:
National Center for Boundless Playgrounds(R), a nonprofit organization that develops playgrounds where children of all abilities can play together.
Landscape Architect:
Tim Granowitz, Planning & Design Division, Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation Department
Construction Coordinator:
Dal Major, Planning & Design Division, Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation Department
American Park & Play, Inc.
  • Park Structures (a PlayCoreTM company)
  • DuMor, Inc. Site Furnishings
  • Wynn & Sons Environmental Construction Co., Inc.
  • Vila and Son Landscaping Corp.
  • Odums' Sod, Inc.
  • Tropic Fence, Inc.
  • S & F Construction, Inc.
Estimated Development Cost:
Funding Sources:
The Picower Foundation and the Quantum Foundation contributed $206,000 and $200,000 respectively toward the cost of the playground equipment and safety surfacing. An additional grant from the Florida Recreational Development Assistance Program assisted with the development of swing sets, gazebos, fencing, landscaping and restroom renovations.

Plant Palette

QuantityCommon NameBotanical NameSize
18live oakQuercus virginiana18' O.A., B&B
3royal poincianaDelonix regia12' O.A., B&B
10silver trumpet treeTabebuia caraiba16' O.A., B&B
10white crape myrtleLagerstromia indica14' O.A., ML, B&B
51cabbage palmSabal palmetto12' - 18' C.T.
2West Indian mahoganySwietenia mahagoni18" O.A., B&B, BR
53pinwheel jasmineTabernaemontana48" O.A., 7 gal. cont.
58fire bushHamelia patens30" O.A., 7 gal. cont.
209gamma grassTripsacum floridana24" O.A., 3 gal. cont.
388India hawthorneRhaphiolepsus indica18" O.A., 3 gal. cont.
146ThyrallisGalphimia gracilus24" O.A., 3 gal. cont.
royal poinciana
(Delonix regia)
silver trumpet tree
(Tabebula caraiba)
white crape myrtle
(Lagerstromia indica)
cabbage palm
(Sabal palmetto)
West Indian mahogany
(Swietenia mahagoni)
pinwheel jasmine

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October 15, 2019, 10:34 pm PDT

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