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Langan Designs Frank R. Lautenberg Children's Playground

Langan provided complete landscape architectural and civil engineering services for the overall park design and layout, the ornamental fence and sculptural details and the interactive water features. The play equipment includes an array of tunnels, slides, bridges and bars.

Community Service is at the heart of the culture at Elmwood Park based Langan Engineering & Environmental Services. There is no better example of this than the landscape architecture services provided by Langan for the newly opened Frank R. Lautenberg Children's Playground in Paterson, New Jersey.

“An estimated $40,000 worth of landscape design and consulting services were donated by the firm in the development of the playground," said Michael Szura, CLA, ASLA, senior associate and director of landscape architecture at Langan. Szura explained that the new playground in the historic East Side Park will serve the over $25,000 school-aged children that live in the city and that the design was inspired by Paterson's natural landscape and history.

A winding colored concrete path emulates the Passaic River with a generous number of benches placed in 'eddy zones.' Other park elements include an early childhood play area, two large play equipment areas, swings and picnic tables.

The new playground itself was uniquely designed to serve the local community in Paterson's historic Eastside Park. Langan's playground concept adopts the four classical elements-Earth, Water, Fire and Ice as narrative elements in the playground; representing them as forces that shaped the Paterson landscape today.

A winding, colored asphalt path loops through the playground, emulating the Passaic River. A large, circular paved area with seat walls in the center of the playground references the industrial millwheels that harnessed the river's power and drove the great mills that made Paterson the birthplace of the American industrial revolution. A playful water park with spray jets that shoot water out of the ground recalls Paterson's Great Falls. Two state-of-the-art play structures with rubberized safety surfaces, benches, game tables and swings are set within the fenced playground among mature oak trees.

Szura and one of his staff members, Steven Laudati, CLA, ASLA, along with George P. Kelley, PE, chairman of the board at Langan, attended the opening ribbon-cutting ceremonies at the park recently. Gerry McDonnell, PE, also from Langan, provided engineering support on the project. The park is named in honor of Frank R. Lautenberg who grew up in that neighborhood and remembers playing in the old East Side Park.

One of the main gathering points in the park is centered around a large circular paved area referencing an industrial millwheel, anchored by brightly colored concrete seating for art classes and other small public gatherings.

Lautenberg was born in Paterson, New Jersey and began his life as the son of poor but hard-working Polish and Russian immigrant parents who came to the United States through Ellis Island.

Following their example, he worked hard for his success at first as a businessman and founder of a major computing services firm and then as a U.S. Senator with many accomplishments. Although he retired from the Senate in 2000, he returned in 2002 in order to continue fighting to improve the lives of New Jersey families.

The playground is just one example of the many design projects completed by Langan on challenging, urban sites. The firm has a long history of working in all of New Jersey's major cities.

The project was spearheaded by Paterson's two Rotary International Clubs and was begun in 2000. While the city of Paterson provided the site and Green Acres funding, many fundraising events and volunteers like Szura made the $700,000 playground a reality. "It was great to see the playground open after all the years of working and waiting," commented Mr. Szura. Indeed, the neighbors who live surrounding the park feel the same way.

Source: Langan Engineering & Environmental Services

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December 9, 2019, 10:10 am PDT

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