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New & Improved!

Mon, 07/20/2015 - 1:44pm
Last updated
5 months ago
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Outdoor fitness equipment

This month is Parks and Recreation Month, and I would like to take this month to let you know about some of the new, interesting, and stirring ideas, programs and facilities that I have come across lately.

ASTM F3101-15- Unsupervised Public Use Outdoor Fitness Equipment

We at PlaySafe, LLC are often asked about what standards an agency should use regarding Outdoor Fitness Equipment. Well, Good News! The ASTM has recently completed a new standard for Outdoor Fitness Equipment.  Below is the Scope;

1. Scope

1.1 This specification establishes parameters for the design and manufacture of outdoor fitness equipment as defined in 3.1.30.

1.2 It is intended that these fitness products will be used in an unsupervised outdoor setting or environment and will be permanently anchored.

1.2.1 It is the intent of this specification to only specify requirements for outdoor fitness equipment and its installation and not the design of the facility or grounds on which the products are to be installed.

1.3 The specifications set forth in this standard are intended to minimize the likelihood of serious injuries.

1.3.1 The specifications set forth in this standard are for outdoor fitness equipment intended for use in an unsupervised setting by individuals age 13 and older.

For additional information: http://www.astm.org/Standards/F3101.htm


The City of Milwaukee has created an interesting approach to dealing with storm water management as well as foreclosed properties: BaseTern. The City of Milwaukee is exploring cost effective and innovative approaches for managing storm water to help neighborhoods be more resilient to extreme storm events. One approach that is being studied is the BaseTern, an underground storm water management or rainwater harvesting structure created from the former basement of an abandoned home that has been slated for demolition. By using this existing basement cavity, the City saves on demolition costs of the old structure and the construction of the new one. The structure would be underground and covered with turf and possibly urban gardens to fit safely within the neighborhood. The preliminary prototypes can hold as much water as 600 hundred rain barrels!

For more information: http://city.milwaukee.gov/ImageLibrary/Groups/In-the-News/BaseTernFAQs2.pdf

Civic Crowdfunding

Times are hard and it is always hard for agencies to be properly funded. A new technique of fundraising is called Civic Crowdfunding. Civic Crowdfunding is a way of funding a project, program, or purchase by raising money through contributions from lots of people; most agencies use the internet. 

Wikipedia states: The crowdfunding model is fueled by three types of actors: the project initiator who proposes the idea and/or project to be funded; individuals or groups who support the idea; and a moderating organization (the "platform") that brings the parties together to launch the idea. In 2013, the crowdfunding industry grew to be over $5.1 billion worldwide.

Many companies can help you to use this type of fundraising.

Green Roofs

Life is better when we live with nature. Unfortunately many of our cities are still concrete jungles, but things are looking up…and to paraphrase Kermit the Frog: It’s getting easier to be green. Many communities have begun or expanded their Green Roof Programs.

The EPA on its website states:

Green roof, or rooftop garden, is a vegetative layer grown on a rooftop. Green roofs provide shade and remove heat from the air through evapotranspiration, reducing temperatures of the roof surface and the surrounding air. On hot summer days, the surface temperature of a green roof can be cooler than the air temperature, whereas the surface of a conventional rooftop can be up to 90°F (50°C) warmer.

Green roofs can be installed on a wide range of buildings, from industrial facilities to private residences. They can be as simple as a 2-inch covering of hardy groundcover or as complex as a fully accessible park complete with trees. Green roofs are becoming popular in the United States, with roughly 8.5 million square feet installed or in progress as of June 2008.

Benefits and Costs

In addition to mitigating urban heat islands, the benefits of green roofs include:

  • Reduced energy use: Green roofs absorb heat and act as insulators for buildings, reducing energy needed to provide cooling and heating. Portland, Oregon, has 6 acres (24,300 m2) of green roofs in the city, as of 2007. Many roofs remain candidates to become green roofs.
  • Reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions: By lowering air conditioning demand, green roofs can decrease the production of associated air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Vegetation can also remove air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions through dry deposition and carbon sequestration and storage.
  • Improved human health and comfort: Green roofs, by reducing heat transfer through the building roof, can improve indoor comfort and lower heat stress associated with heat waves.
  • Enhanced storm water management and water quality: Green roofs can reduce and slow storm water runoff in the urban environment; they also filter pollutants from rainfall.
  • Improved quality of life: Green roofs can provide aesthetic value and habitat for many species.

Estimated costs of installing a green roof start at $10 per square foot for simpler extensive roofing, and $25 per square foot for intensive roofs. Annual maintenance costs for either type of roof may range from $0.75–$1.50 per square foot.

While the initial costs of green roofs are higher than those of conventional materials, building owners can help offset the difference through reduced energy and storm water management costs, and potentially by the longer lifespan of green roofs compared with conventional roofing materials.

Researchers and communities are beginning to perform detailed, full life-cycle analyses to determine the net benefits of green roofs. A University of Michigan study compared the expected costs of conventional roofs with the cost of a 21,000-square-foot (1,950 m2) green roof and all its benefits, such as storm water management and improved public health from the absorption of nitrogen oxides. The green roof would cost $464,000 to install versus $335,000 for a conventional roof in 2006 dollars. However, over its lifetime, the green roof would save about $200,000. Nearly two-thirds of these savings would come from reduced energy needs for the building with the green roof.

The City of Chicago DPD's Sustainable Development Division is responsible for creating and expanding public open space systems and developing policies and programs to advance the sustainability of the City's buildings, businesses, and urban form. Long-term initiatives include waterfront access improvements, the expansion of natural habitats, improvements to the environmental performance of development sites, and the promotion of urban agriculture and other aspects of the local food system. The City of Chicago's Green Roof dataset and corresponding map provides the location, satellite images, and square footage of existing green roofs within the City of Chicago.

For Additional Information: http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/chicago_green_roofs.html

The City of New York explains that: Green roofs have vegetation that absorbs rainwater, provides insulation, and combats the heat island effect, where urban environments can have higher temperatures than surrounding areas. Because a green roof will add substantial weight to a building’s structure, you must hire a Professional Engineer or Registered Architect to perform a structural analysis to determine if the existing roof and its support system can hold the added load without a modification. New York City offers property tax abatements to property owners that install solar green roofs on their buildings.

For Additional Information: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dob/html/sustainability/green_roof_faq.shtml

We live in exciting times; improvements in our lives are continuous and are occurring at an ever increasing rate. I am glad I could share a few new items with you. If you have any new ideas and would like to share them, just leave me a message on this message board.

Playsafe and Live Well!

Butch DeFillippo is the owner of PlaySafe, LLC, the Premiere Recreational Consulting Company. PlaySafe, LLC assists municipalities, schools, childcare providers,...