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Hudson County Playgrounds Get Facelifts

Washington Park in Union City, N.J. recently reopened its playground featuring colorful safety surfacing (Unity Surfacing Systems), a new water play system, new slides, swings, and other play ground equipment, plus fencing, landscaping and refurbished park buildings.
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Playworld Came America
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Charles Lowrie was the landscape architect for the Hudson County, N.J. Park Commission for 30 years and designed several parks for the county’s park system, including Lincoln Park and the Stephen R. Gregg Hudson County Park. Mr. Lowrie was a proponent of the “City Beautiful” movement.

Hudson County, N.J. is located in the northeast corner of the state and is part of the greater New York metro area. The county takes its name from the Hudson River, which borders the eastern part of the county.

Today, Hudson County offers its citizens nine parks: Stephen R. Gregg Park and Mercer Park in Bayonne, Columbus Park in Hoboken, Lincoln Park and Lincoln Park West in Jersey City, James Braddock Park in North Bergen, Washington Park in Union City and Northern Jersey City, West Hudson Park in Kearny and Laurel Hill Park in Secaucus.


Steven R. Gregg Park, Bayonne, N.J. playgrounds have about 19,000 sq. ft. of safety surfacing. The surfacing ranges from Unity Surfacing's tile/mat/block series: 1.75" thick "Pave-Land" (five-foot fall rating); 2.5" thick "Play-Land" (seven foot fall rating) and the 3" thick "Soft-Land" (eight-foot fall rating). The park is named for the Army second lieutenant who earned the Medal of Honor for conspicuous bravery while serving in southeastern France in Aug. 27, 1944.

This year, five of the parks received face lifts, part of a $6.5 million package of playground improvements throughout the county park system. The five parks were Stephen R. Gregg Park, Mercer Park, Lincoln Park, Washington Park and West Hudson. The five playgrounds in those parks totaled 76,000 sq. ft. of new safety surfacing (Unity Surfacing Systems), about $1 million dollars worth of tiles, mats and blocks.

The landscape architecture/civil engineering for revitalizing the five parks was Kevin Wong, CLA, ASLA of LS Engineering and Associates.

Placing the safety surfacing in the parks of course required a crew to come in and remove all the play structures, site amenities and even landscaping. It also required a playground redesign by the landscape architect.


Before (bottom) and after: For the playground safety surfacing installations, (Lincoln Park in Jersey City pictured) the male interlocks were left exposed per the spec. The general contractor then poured the asphalt to meet flush with the safety surfacing, allowing the new poured asphalt to ooze into the male potions of the interlocking system to prevent gaps, both a safety feature--to prevent tripping--and to discourage any malicious intent to pull up the safety surfacing. Supplemental gluing and bolting were also employed to further protect the surfacing. Hudson County Sheriff's officers will soon be able to monitor the park's security cameras from their vehicles.

After the new playground equipment and the site amenities were installed on the playgrounds, Unity Surfacing Systems came in to install all the safety surfacing, leaving all the male interlocks exposed, then pouring the surrounding asphalt flush with the newly installed safety surfacing materials as walkways and pathways. This allowed the new poured asphalt to ooze into the male potions of the interlocking system to prevent gaps, both a safety feature—to prevent tripping—and to discourage vandalism of the safety surfacing.

The Unity Surfacing people report their installers glued the outside edge of each tile installed and glued the male interlocking joints inside and out, which equates to 60 percent more glue coverage. Where the female section of the tile meets the freshly-glued male portion, any access glue goes down to the subbase material, a patented design feature developed by Unity’s engineering department. As a back up to the glue-down, and gluing of the interlocks, Unity also installed six bolts throughout the male potion of the interlocking system as an additional backup to insure strength and security against vandalism.

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October 20, 2019, 5:48 pm PDT

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