Shade: A Waterfront Park Revitalized

Sullivan Park in Deerfield Beach, Fla.


Sullivan Park in Deerfield Beach, Fla., was once an isolated and underutilized 3-acre waterfront park. It has recently been revitalized by landscape architects Bermello Ajamil & Partners and the City of Deerfield Beach into a vibrant intracoastal recreational area accessible by car or boat.

"I think a lot of people didn't even know the park was there because it was so hidden," said Randy Hollingworth, Bermello Ajamil & Partners, director of Urban Design for Bermello Ajamil & Partners, and the landscape architect who designed the renewed Sullivan Park. "It wasn't a very recognizable amenity until we started talking about doing a master plan and bringing this concept to the community."


Since the park site was very isolated, there was very little community directly adjacent to it except for condominiums west of the site. Residents of the condominiums expressed concern that the new development would affect noise levels and privacy. However, through community meetings, people began to realize that Sullivan Park is the only park that is right on the water, aside from the beach, and that the new park may actually enrich their community.

As part of an extensive redevelopment of the city's waterfront and commercial areas to the south, the new park offers spectacular intracoastal views and includes two playgrounds, an interactive water feature, a picnic pavilion, a waterfront promenade, restrooms and access to the bridge leading to the city's beachfront. The innovative Sullivan Park redesign also incorporates a small marina and floating docks, allowing uninterrupted waterfront access and attracting boaters from the busy intracoastal to the park with safe areas to dock boats and, in turn, enjoy the park. It also features a walkway under the Hillsboro Boulevard Bridge connecting to the Cove Shopping Center.


In order to attract attention to the exciting new park, project landscape architects Kirk Olney and Randy Hollingworth worked with Shade Systems Inc. of Ocala, Fla., to produce a network of multifunctional canopy systems to create a dramatic visual focal point on the waterfront.

"The shade structures above the playgrounds and picnic area help to frame views out to the water and from the water back into the park. They are very monumental and make an incredible statement, and they are just very hard to miss," said Hollingworth.

"We knew people would be coming to this park by boat," Hollingworth continued, "and the design of the shade structures was particularly important for the view from and to the water. It's almost like a landmark on the waterfront. The intracoastal is very heavily used and we wanted to attract families not only from the land but also from the water. We wanted people to come up and dock their boats, and have their kids use the playground and the interactive water feature."


The sloped shade structure was selected to provide a variety of shaded and non-shaded areas year-round.

Hollingworth expressed that it was very rewarding working with the city, Shade Systems and the community. He believes they've developed a park that was very responsive to what the community wants and needed.


"Sullivan Park is a result of listening to the community and what they had to say. It's very well used, provides people in different age groups a lot of opportunities to do different types of things, and it really has something for everyone in a very small park. It has been really rewarding for both Kirk and I to build something like this for a community," Hollingworth said.

"I hear it's busy all the time. Clearly it's attracting a lot more people than just the condominium next door, but I think they are pleasantly happy and surprised at how it turned out, and I don't think they have any opposition from the neighbors now because it came out so well," he concluded.



Bermello Ajamil & Partners Inc.:
Shade Systems Inc.: