Feature Article - October 2014
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Made in the Shade

Shelters & Shade Structures to Set Your Site Apart

By Rick Dandes


Fantastic Fabric

From standard forms to unique custom applications, shade structures afford a myriad of solutions to meet the needs of a park manager. They also often offer a cost-effective way to transform an existing space by adding to a design theme or creating an interesting new focal point for a location that is looking to stand out and add value to the community.

Because of their flexibility and formability, fabric structures can be designed in an impressive variety of shapes and configurations for an array of spaces. "Creating space is exactly what one gets when a fabric structure provides and defines a comfortable gathering spot," Abrecht said.

"Shade structures not only protect children from the sun when playing on a playground," Bayman added, "but they also offer shelter to both participants and spectators at sports facilities. Ball fields, soccer fields, tennis courts, swim complexes, aquatic parks and pools are just a few examples of the limitless uses for fabric structures."

Shade structures not only protect children from the sun when playing on a playground,but they also offer shelter to both participants and spectators at sports facilities.

Covering and customizing a stage or amphitheater or simply defining an entry area or focal point for a park or community facility adds value in both beauty and function.

Other benefits realized by the addition of a fabric shade structure include the opportunity for revenue enhancement. Increased appeal means increased usage, which potentially translates into more revenue for owners. Locations such as waterparks will often rent areas with permanent shade structures for special events such as birthday parties, corporate events, school retreats and more, which results in bottom-line benefits. When incorporated into outdoor amphitheater locations and other civic spaces, revenue-generating opportunities are added for events, concerts and other performances where covered venues can gain income from year-round activities with rental and cover charges.

"Probably more than any other building material," Graves said, "fabric expands the potential for design freedom and adaptability to any community project."