Posts Tagged ‘Economy’

A Durable Playground Saves You Money

July 22, 2010

In these challenging budgetary times it is important to think about today’s costs as well as tomorrow’s. At Miracle we take pride in reducing costs by implementing durable, reliable equipment that needs little maintenance over time. We use heavy duty manufacturers and playground suppliers that have a long history in the business, so they know what it takes to get the job done right the first time. And don’t think these durable products are unattainable; we spend a great deal of time working with our product lines so that they are the best deals possible… so your project will be cost-effective in the long term and the short term.

The connections we use are secure and safe. The nuts, bolts, and rivets are steel and the equipment, as shown through design specs and experience, we receive from our suppliers are top-of-the-line. We look over our products so that we ensure we are giving clients equipment that won’t let them down. It would be unreasonable to say that issues don’t arise, such as extreme weather damage or vandalism, but we work with our clients to get these problems taken care of as fast as possible so that their sites are ready for use once again quickly. Offering spare parts is just the first part of making sure our clients are taken care of. We can also bring in the specialists that will get the job done right. These occasions are rare, but when they do happen, know that you have a solid backup plan.

To prevent unwanted damage from hazards such as vandalism, we offer security devices for your park or playground. These include the SONIC SCREEN Vandal Deterrent System from Miracle, a device that uses high frequency sounds to drive away young adults during high-crime night-time hours. This ready to install system, available for your new or existing site, is guaranteed to reduce vandalism by over 80%. In Europe, a similar system is being used and many times it has been shown to be 100% effective. Talk about reducing damages. So, go with durable, affordable products to start and if you think you need extra protections, let us know and we will hook you up with the best in the business in terms of easily attainable security equipment that will reduce your long term maintenance costs.

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Craftsmanship Equals Quality, Safety, and Savings…

November 26, 2009

Work with experience.

Not only is choosing the right equipment and the right site layout important in designing a playground, but so is choosing the right people to build the playscape. Craftsmanship is extremely important in playground construction, as well as all other building projects. Superior craftsmanship can be the difference between safety or danger, meeting the deadline or missing it, and saving money in maintenance fees over the years or wasting tons of money on needless repairs. That is why working with the best and those that know the best is extremely important in the design and construction stages.

Make quality a priority.

Because wear and tear will not effect well constructed sites as much, they will last a lot longer. The break down of these sites will be slower—supports will hold longer and connectors will remain secure for a greater period of time… and you will save money because you won’t have to replace parts as often. Look at cost effective products that will mean returns in the long run and the short run. By working with Miracle, you can save money at both ends. We supply top quality equipment and know first class builders that do every job right.

Do every job right.

Your playground should be built on time, in way that saves you money and increases the safety of your site. By working with the best designers, suppliers, and builders, you will ensure that your park is not only the best it can be, but also one of the best in general. Take the time to see why Miracle is considered one of the best in the business. Craftsmanship is key with any building project; at Miracle, we know craftsmanship.

Alternative Options for Park Funding

August 18, 2009

Public spaces are by no means disappearing, but as an article posted on the ASLA Dirt Blog states, private entities are increasingly looked at to fund new park projects due to the lack of public funds available. “Business improvement districts, park conservancies, and even private developers” are being relied upon to support parks on a national scale said J William Thompson, Editor of Landscape Architecture Magazine. When the private sector has to step in to support public spaces it means that those spaces must be used as there own fundraisers, a practice with advantages and disadvantages. In a way these sites become self-sustaining—if the job gets done of course.

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In relation to California’s budget climate, public park funding dollars may diminish and private entities will have to provide aid if parks are to continue to offer the same level of service to the public sector. An article by Michael Seaman of the Planning Division of the California Department of Parks and Recreation gives some advice on where else to turn for funding and increased resources. Other channels of revenue include “donations and volunteer support, grants, assessments of existing property, and impact fees on new developments.” Also listed is marketing to increase a park’s costumer base which would improve the donations and volunteer pool and also increase awareness for potential public-private collaborations and partnerships, which is another channel mentioned.

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With California’s national parks already in so much trouble, it is crucial for all to consider how we will pay for the maintenance of existing local parks and the constructing of new ones. As an article in the Huffington Post by Don Thompson says, parks are losing funding to cope with the huge budget deficit. There are options out there to turn this trend around, but action must be taken now so that parks don’t become few and far between.

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All it takes is a little ingenuity.

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Playground Surface Improvements to Prevent Financial Burdens

July 8, 2009

New techniques are coming up everywhere in order to make cities more sustainable and their features more economical.  For instance, as told of by the Dirt Blog on the ALSA website, new methods to combat storm water runoff are being implemented everywhere in Philadelphia, even in playgrounds.  The post, called Unpaving Philadelphia, describes how impervious surfaces that keep water from soaking into the ground and rather push the water into storm drains can “overwhelm the city’s sewage system,” leading to many adverse affects.  However, a solution is available.

Bark Lets the Rain Back Into the Ground

Bark Lets the Rain Back Into the Ground

To combat the problem, the city has started to rip out the impenetrable surfaces and replace them with soft earth—one playground mentioned is cutting down the schoolyard’s run-off by 80%.  The Dirt Blog says this playground is using a method that cuts down 50% of the pavement used, all at the borders, to let the rain soak in naturally from all sides.  A system such as this reduces water runoff and reuses the water to hydrate shrubbery that will be at the borders, furthering the environmental cause.  Other practices that can be put into place such as using wood fiber (wood chips/bark) in place of concrete or asphalt areas, which will let the rain soak into the ground beneath them.

Permeable Surfacing

Permeable Surfacing

According to B-sustainable.org, the “built environment, increases the number of roads, parking lots, sidewalks, and rooftops,” all of which have impervious surfaces which make it impossible for water to seep back into the ground.  Because schools have a large surface area, including all of the building rooftops and pavement covering the schoolyard, it is more important than ever to incorporate more permeable surfaces because in places like Philadelphia, as stated in the Unpaving Philadelphia blog post, a” stormwater tax” will be implemented in 2010.  Eventually, a similar tax could be implemented in California so landscape architects and designers should incorporate runoff sustainability into the design of their new construction projects—not only to prevent financial burdens on their clients, but also to prevent environmental destruction.

Wood Fiber Comes in Different Colors

Wood Fiber Comes in Different Colors

Prop 1B Voted Down

May 20, 2009

 

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News came today of more shaky ground underneath the already faltering feet of California Schools as the May, 19th Special Election proposition 1B was voted down.  Prop 1B would have set aside money from all state revenues in order to ensure that the public school and the community college systems would be re-payed adequate funding for the 2009-2010 and 2011-2012 fiscal years.  This budget totaled $9.3 billion dollars with the possibility of up to $200 million more to cover maintenance factors.

The prop, introduced by Assembly Member Bass, was voted down %59.1 to %40.1 as written in the Policy Report, cited in the Secretary of State’s Office.  The prop was formulated to contest the recent $12 billion dollars in educational budget cuts, which “forced the layoffs of more than 5,000 teachers,” and threatened the jobs of 13,000 more, said David A. Sanchez, President of the California Teachers Association, in his argument in favor of Prop 1B.  The reduction of class sizes, the rehiring of teachers, the purchasing of new text-books, and the funding of “critical educational programs” were among the benefits chopped by voters.   

No arguments against Prop 1B were officially registered in PR, but sources including the Legislative Analyst’s Office suggest that state savings would have taken place in the short term, but billions could be lost to educational funding in the future.

Californian teachers, classrooms, and supplemental programs will have to find another avenue for funding.

Sustainability through Parks

May 3, 2009

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When President Obama signed the American Recovery Act in February, he committed to a number of reform principles, including getting America’s energy independence back on track.  There are real problems with energy today, involving our foreign dependence on it of course, but also, a major issue is this country’s overuse of the stuff.  In many places, from homes to offices to entertainment destinations, electricity is the driving force behind many daily activities.  Recovery.ca.gov says California will receive “$80 billion in benefit[s]” that will go to Health and Human Services, Education, and Energy, among other things.  In order to make these dollars count, it is crucial for Californians to do their part by limiting consumption and promoting sustainability.

Related to the playground and parks world and sustainability, the American Society of Landscape Architects, ASLA, has teamed up with United States Botanical Garden and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to create the Sustainable Sites Initiative.  This initiative will outline “voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices,” announces the initiative’s website.  On that site, a 2008 draft of the initiative focuses on sustainability in ecosystems, dealing with health in terms of the environment, the economy, and society.  Linking energy use to standards of sustainability, outdoor recreation can greatly reduce everyday expenditures.  For example, a playground can last for a decade and a half.  A park can last exponentially longer with the appropriate maintenance and upkeep.

Back to the Sustainable Sites Initiative, parks themselves can further conservation by using the practices outlines.  They can work with the surrounding ecosystem during construction and use more eco friendly maintenance procedures.  Also, using recyclable substances and reusing building materials will aid this cause.  Parks and playgrounds will limit energy consumption and promote sustainable recreation, especially in the long term.

City Beautification

April 28, 2009

Not only is California hurting financially, it is also aching for a change of face. We hear about gum stuck to the sidewalks with little money in the budget to clean the problem up. And in city squares, cracked bricks will have to wait out the recession for a face lift. However, in other places, old age is being taken on from the ground up. The Dirt Blog in the ASLA website posted that in Chicago, two new pavilions are in the works. The post speaks about the projects in terms of “urban development” and art, as well as recycling.

These pavilions are principally meant to benefit those people who visit them, as the April 7th article in the Chicago Tribune pointed out—this article is linked to by the Dirt Blog. In these hard financial times, ventures such as these can stimulate a city’s economy immediately by way of new jobs in the planning and construction stages. In the long term, urban development centered in beautification can motivate tourism and migration. Also, it can encourage existing citizens to get out of the house and experience their local environments in a more upbeat way. In all time frames, positive effects can outweigh, and even repay, the spending.

Legacy Heritage Park Bench

Legacy Heritage Park Bench

Projects like these don’t have to be as grand as entire new pavilions either. Although big spending can bring about bigger projects, smaller projects can still change perceptions—and at a lower price. Specifically, scaling down beatification to new benches or surfacing will nonetheless produce noticeable changes. In the end, cities need clean, open spaces to be truly appreciated.