August 11, 2021

Custom Playgrounds Part of a Community Landmark’s Renovation

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Wald Park is a well-loved park in Vestavia Hills that needed an update. In fact, the city of Vestavia Hills' Parks and Recreation set aside $58M in its Infrastructure & Community Spaces Plan, with $16.6M allotted towards the park. After careful planning with designer Lea Ann Macknally with Macknally Land Design, the city decided to partner with GameTime and build new custom playgrounds for the space. 

The Importance of a Local Landmark

Wald Park is an essential part of Vestavia Hills. It seems that almost everybody in the city has a thrilling story from their childhood that took place in the park. Without a doubt, Wald Park is a cherished destination for the surrounding community. 

Decades ago, the city installed a wooden playground in the park. As safety and accessibility requirements evolved over the years and the wooden playground required more frequent maintenance, it was time to make changes. A new playground would complement the new look of the park and its amenities. 

A Custom Playground Design for Everyone

Due to Wald Park's importance within the community, city manager Jeff Downes knew the play areas needed a tailored, unique look that captured the city's heart. He communicated this vision to landscape architect Lea Ann Macknally, who went to work designing the new playgrounds. 

The design called for a theme to complement the natural and built surroundings. Natural stone and exposed steel became a common motif within the park. Another significant change was expanding the park closer to the road. With this expansion, the park could now be more accessible and encourage more people to explore the space and discover the culture of Vestavia Hills.

A Towering Addition to the Playscape

After completing the concept for the park, the installation team went to work. The playground was installed by Struthers Recreation, GameTime's exclusive representative in Alabama. Struthers Recreation created a play area at the upper side of the park that includes: the following:

  • Custom playground tower
  • Plenty of playground Swings
  • Timbers-style panels and roofs for a rustic appearance
  • Separate play areas for children ages 2 to 5 and 5 to 12
  • Climbing mounds covered in soft surfaces
  • Poured-in-place rubber surfacing for accessibility
  • Infinity Bowl inclusive spinner
  • Tree stump climbers
  • Log balance beam

These amenities are an excellent way for children to engage in active, social, and imaginative play. The climbers are also a great way to develop fine and gross motor skills.

Including Everyone in Play

Struthers Recreation also worked with Macknally Land Design to create a second play area at the lower end of the park. Installed next to a Miracle League field, it includes many inclusive play features:

  • Large inclusive play structure with ramped access
  • Modern City® play structure with ground-level play activities
  • RoxAll SeeSaw® inclusive seesaw
  • Sensory Wave Climber® with auditory, tactile, and visual activities
  • Adaptive and multi-user playground swings
  • Integrated shade structures
  • Poured-in-place rubber surfacing

Not only is this play area accessible to children who use mobility devices through its ramped access points, but it also considers the needs of neurodivergent children. The Sensory Wave Climber is an excellent way for children of all abilities to engage in sensory and climbing play simultaneously.

This playground captures the diversity of the Vestavia Hills community. Now, all children can play alongside each other in the same place. Because the playground was designed using best practice research in the areas of inclusion and youth physical activity, PlayCore designated the park as a National Demonstration Site.

A Place for Adults to Exercise Outdoors

The City of Vestavia Hills also wanted to include an adult outdoor fitness area within Wald Park. Struthers Recreation installed a THRIVE 250 outdoor gym for adults to exercise while children play. Wald Park is truly a multigenerational destination with something for all ages and abilities.

Climb, Slide, Repeat With Hillside Slides

Another exciting feature of the updated Wald Park is its hillside slides. These slides integrate well with the rocky theming of the park. You'll find four of these slides installed within the terraced landscape. 

Children climb up the rock steps and slide down the hill over and over. 

Unique Communities Require Custom Solutions

Wald Park is a long-standing destination for the community of Vestavia Hills. As the community's needs changed, the city leaders updated this park to meet those needs and prepare for the future. 

Part of the park's renovation includes a custom play and recreation space with two playgrounds, a fitness area for adults, and extra amenities like climbing mounds and hillside slides. Working with the visionary landscape architect Lea Ann Macknally, GameTime's custom design team and Struthers Recreation created a place to play as unique as Vestavia Hills itself. 

If you're interested in creating a custom play environment for your community, request a copy of our custom playground catalog. Or contact a local GameTime representative to start planning your ideal custom play area today.