December 2010 - Parks & Recreation - 66

When
Considering
Electronic
Playground
Equipment:
■   Brock Hill, parks superintendant for Layton

certain sequence that changes with each
game played, " says Ian Proud, research
manager for Playworld Systems. In addition, ambulatory players and children in
wheelchairs can enter and leave without
any obstacles, and there's no maximum
to the number of kids who can play the
game at one time.
Proud says that through the company's research, they discovered certain
age groups are less inclined to interact
with traditional playground equipment
because it lacks the interactivity of video
games. " We must engage them with an
experience that is equally rich and deep,
while adding agility and fitness, " he says.
" An hour spent on a video game is an
hour not spent outdoors in the fresh air. "
Weitzel agrees, saying that the electronic playground equipment gets the
kids outdoors, which is just the beginning of their experience. " We put this
close to a nature center, so they are
playing games but then can be attracted to the lake by the path. When walking to the park, they might see a deer or
hawk-they are getting outdoor experience that they might be lacking, " says

62	 Parks & Recreation

DECEMBER	2010

Weitzel. " Some would say connection
to nature is more important than electronic equipment but this is getting
them outdoors. "
Brock Hill, parks superintendant for
Layton City, Utah, says the park was
planning to install KOMPAN playground
equipment in their new Legacy Park
because of its solid structure, when
they were introduced to the electronic add-ins. " We installed the electronic
component because we saw a niche in
the playground environment for our citizens. We were looking for other ways to
get kids outside the home-not just children but the teens 14 and up, and we felt
like this was a good way. " This electronic
equipment cost about 20 percent more
than traditional equipment, a cost that
Hill says was well worth it for the amount
of participation it garners.
Tom Grover, president of KOMPAN's
North American headquarters, says that
the ICON playground equipment is the
result of 10 years of development: " We
recognized the influence of digital media and gaming on kids and knew that
in order to maintain the relevance of

www.NRPA .ORG

City, Utah, recommends doing your homework, not just on the company and product,
but also within the community through surveys and input. " We did that, and we feel
that was the determining factor of why we
put the playground where we put it. "
■   Ask the company for a product sample to
test around the community, says Greg A.
Weitzel, director of the Department of Parks
and Recreation in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Like Hill recommends, Weitzel also did
many surveys based on feedback from the
sample model before purchasing it. " Anyone interested in electronic playground
equipment is welcome to call me to pass
on our surveys if they need data, " he says.
■   Weitzel adds that location is key for the
equipment. Because kids are running
back and forth or in a circle, install it in a
large area. Also, be prepared for the space
needed for people watching. Also, Weitzel
plans park programming like NEOS tournaments around the equipment, to foster
even more participation of the unit.

our parks and playgrounds, we needed to redesign our solutions in a whole
new way. " There's also the added ability
the equipment allows for monitoring its
use. " ICON includes a wireless feature
that allows us to monitor the number,
duration, and the frequency of games
being played. Park and recreation departments can use this information to
fi ne-tune the game selection and compare usage rates between various ICON
playgrounds in their parks. " This helped
the Layton Park Department determine
that from September 2009 to September
2010, the use of the ICON park equipment had increased by 19 percent.
Also, there's the benefit of attracting children with sensory disorders
who aren't as mesmerized by traditional



December 2010 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of December 2010 - Parks & Recreation

December 2010 - Parks & Recreation - 1
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