Back in 2013, Countryside began planning a large scale destination playground with Schneider Corporation and the City of Carmel. The vision for this playground was to bring in people from all over the state to play. It needed to be big, bold, and like nothing ever built before. They wanted to add this play space to their ever expanding Monon Center, which serves as a focal community gathering place for city residents. The Monon Center already had a water park and a large, newly developed community center that features a fitness center, pool, tennis and basketball courts, and a business center that supports both the Parks Department, and Indiana Parks and Recreation. The park houses both natural grasslands, natural wetlands, and a trail head for the Monon Trail. The only thing that was missing was a playground! If you were in the Monon Center looking west, there was a big open field (see picture to the right). This spot was the perfect place to build the playground Central Park needed.
Countryside flew Landscape Architect, Michael Krosschell, to Delano, Minnesota to meet with the custom design team at Landscape Structures. During the design meeting, Michael had stressed he wanted to make the playground have a more modern, artistic look since the City had recently built a large scale natural playground at Founders Park only 2 years prior. He wanted to make a statement using custom Mobius Climbers, and to bring a “WOW” factor by making very tall towers that can be seen from both sides of the park. He also wanted to see these pieces built into a playscape that had naturally rolling hills and topography for the kids to play on.
Landscape Structures, Countryside, and Schneider worked back and fourth, and had several design meeting after the initial consult to get Michael’s vision just right. Once the final design was completed, everything was submitted to the City for approval.
The playground went to bid first in fall of 2014, and then rebid in November of 2015 due to budgeting issues. General Contractor, Patterson-Horth, began construction on the project in January of 2016. After numerous delays due to weather and site issues, the playground equipment started going in the ground in April. We had SO MUCH RAIN this year! The build from start to finish took about 3 and a half months. So much went into the construction of the project. To begin, the site excavation and the retaining wall had to be built.
Drainage was installed, and the dirt work was completed to build up the topography. After that, the playground equipment itself started going in the ground. Stone grading was done, drains were repaired, and the rubber safety surfacing was installed. On a project of this size, one of the most important things we learned is that communication is so important. Countryside’s Project Manager and Foreman met weekly with Patterson-Horth’s job-site superintendent to discuss any new needs and developments. Issues were addressed immediately, and the build kept moving forward. There were so many players involved, that keeping the lines of communication open at all times was crucial to the build’s success!
The official opening was the second week of August, and it was met with HUGE success. The playground sees a constant flow of people from opening to close on a daily basis.
In September, Landscape Structures sent out photographers to do a photo shoot of the playground. These pictures have since been featured in the Play Book that was distributed to Landscape Architects across the country at the ASLA conference, and will also have a spread in the 2017 Landscape Structures playground catalog that will be distributed world wide!
What began as a concept turned into a magnificent playground that will be a destination for Carmel for years to come! Want to see more? Check out this link: http://www.countrysideplaystructures.com/portfolio/carmel-central-park-west-commons/