Each month, City Parks Alliance recognizes two “Frontline Parks” to promote and highlight inspiring examples of urban park excellence, innovation, and stewardship across the country. The program also seeks to highlight examples of the challenges facing our cities’ parks as a result of shrinking municipal budgets, land use pressures, and urban neighborhood decay.
July’s Frontline Parks are known for keeping patrons cool and for their unique water conservation technology.
Grapeland Water Park is the first public water destination attraction within the City of Miami. With four pools that include slide play structures, a lazy river and recreation pool, the facility has brought splashy fun to the backyard of a community. The bright and colorful environment was designed by acclaimed international artist Romero Britto. A popular destination for families and groups, the park is located adjacent to an exit off a major highway in Miami, making it accessible for those who live in the neighborhood and surrounding counties. During the summer, it’s common for the park to hit peak capacity several times a day. The combination of innovative water conservation technology, creative design and fitness/recreation programs for people of all ages and abilities make Grapeland a wonderful warm weather neighborhood attraction. Site furnishings in Grapeland Water Park were manufactured by DuMor, Inc.
Occupying the site of a former infirmary, Mary Bartelme Park combines a sense of history with modern, innovative design elements. This uniquely designed green space in the West Loop serves a community that has experienced tremendous growth over the last 10 years. The Chicago Park District worked with the local elected officials, community members and nonprofit organizations to create a park that specifically caters to the neighborhood. The size and amenities in this park give it the feel of a local space, but the unique design and location make it an appealing regional destination. Innovation abounds in this park, from using pieces of the original infirmary building in seat walls to capturing and storing all storm water with permeable paver paths. But one of the most popular features manages to conserve water and keep park patrons comfortable at the same time. Using only three gallons a minute, each of the five stainless steel fountain gates emit a fine mist of vaporized water on hot Chicago days, cooling off families while immersing the area in a cloud.