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The Miracle on 34th Street! Ocean City, New Jersey

By Adam Alexander, LLA, CPSI Associate, CMX




Thousands of little feet, combined with the salt air, left the 34th Street Playground in Ocean City, New Jersey in need of renovation and repair.

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The 34th Street Playground in Ocean City, New Jersey built by members of the community has for years offered local families and tourists a place for their children to run, climb and swing safely. However, the pounding of thousands of little feet, combined with the salt air, left the playground in need of renovation and repair.




The revitalized playground features two custom designed structures (Big Toys) that are 100 percent PVC free. The 2-5 age group structures (left) include a rock climbing wall, balance beam and xylophone, while the 5-12 age group (right) get a climbing net, suspension bridge, three slides and "play pod maze."

In coordination with Ocean City officials, CMX provided the planning and design services to help revitalize the popular park, with the understanding the playground would complement the city's environmental action plan and its commitment to outdoor greening.

The focus of the team was to create an entire playground environment, and thus the team tackled issues of accessibility, sun and shade patterns, seating areas for caregivers, suitability with adjacent uses, site drainage, compatibility of materials and conformance with an overall environmentally-friendly theme.




Concrete pavers (4"x 8"x 2-3/8") form a seating area "island" within the ocean theme. The various shades of blue rubber safety surfacing in concentric circles around the island create a wavelike effect.

The main features of the playground area are two custom designed structures manufactured by Big Toys, both 100 percent PVC free. The structure for children ages 2-5 features a rock climbing wall, balance beam and xylophone, while the structures for children ages 5-12 include a climbing net, suspension bridge, three slides and "play pod maze."

Concrete pavers form a seating area, an "island" within the ocean theme. The placement of various shades of blue rubber safety surfacing in concentric circles around the island creates a wavelike effect.

Other design elements chosen to fulfill the environmentally-friendly theme include a "wave" bicycle rack, plastic lumber picnic and game tables, ADA accessible tables and swing seats, landscaping and drip irrigation. The playground's trash and recycling receptacles and the faux wood finish benches were chosen as the signature site amenities to help maintain consistency among all of Ocean City's playgrounds.

The donor pickets, a remnant from the original playground, remain in place to honor those who helped build the park.



The 34th Street Playground provides a safe and challenging play environment for the Ocean City children of all ages and abilities.

Specific plants that could withstand South Jersey's sandy soil and harsh weather conditions were selected for the site, including 'London Planetree' (Platanus acerifolia), 'Bar Harbor Juniper' (Juniperus horizontalis) and 'Big Blue Liriope' (Liriope muscari).

The overall recycled content of the playground equipment is 75 percent by weight. Approximately 97,720 milk jugs and 5,593 lbs of scrap steel were used. Shipping the playground equipment by rail rather than by truck was another nod to remaining eco-friendly.

Through careful planning and the use of recycled materials, the 34th Street Playground provides a safe play environment for children of all ages and abilities, but also reflects Ocean City's efforts in advocating environmental responsibility.

Project Team

  • Ocean City: Jim Rutala, Georgia Arnold, Kim Benoit, Frank
  • Tedesco, Michael Dattilo
  • CMX: Joseph Perello, Robert Mannix, Adam Alexander
  • Ben Shaffer, Inc.: Jaye Joyce,
  • P&P Installations: Patrick Votra,
  • Contractor: Jeff Sussman, Sussman Enterprises, Inc.

Materials/Vendors

  • Colored Concrete Sidewalk: L.M. Scofield
  • Concrete Pavers (4"x 8"x 2-3/8") 'Brick Stone' Paver by Anchor
  • Benches: 6' with Back and Arms, Beverly Shores Series:Urbanscape
  • Backless Bench: 6' GreenSites Series: Victor Stanley
  • Trash & Recycling Receptacles: Beverly Shores Series:Urbanscape
  • Bike Rack: "Waves" Artful Cyclops: Columbia Cascade Co.
  • Plastic Game Table, Four Seats: Custom Fabrication
  • Pedestal Table, 3 & 4 Seats: Custom Fabrication

Plant Palette

  • Platanus Acerifolia, 'London Plane Tree', 12-14' Ht., 3-3 1/2" Cal., B&B
  • Prunus Serrulata 'Kwanzan', 'Kwanzan Cherry', 12-14' Ht., 2 1/2-3" Cal., B&B
  • Ajuga 'Burgundy Glow', 'Bungleweed', #2 Can
  • Calamagrotis Acutiflora 'Karl Forester', 'Feather Reed Grass, #2 Can
  • Juniperus Horizontalis 'Bar Harbor', 'Bar Harbor Juniper', #2 Can
  • Liriope Muscari 'Big Blue', 'Big Blue Liriope', #2 Can
  • Panicum Virgatum 'Heavy Metal', 'Heavy Metal Switch Grass', #3 Can
  • Pennisetum Alopecuroides 'Hamelin', 'Dwarf Fountain Grass', #2 Can
  • Perovskia 'Atrip', 'Russian Sage', #2 Can


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June 16, 2019, 10:40 pm PDT

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