Supplement Feature - April 2014
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Bling It On!

Accessorizing With Site Furnishings & Amenities

By Kelli Ra Anderson

Take Your Places

Of course, site furnishings are only as useful as their location, and one big reason experts suggest items like bike repair stations be placed in highly visible areas where bikes frequently pass is to deter theft, vandalism and to optimize their usefulness.

Similarly, designers like Dalzier emphasize the importance of line of sight and views for seating. Mothers need seating close to children, for example, with options of both sun and shade, and passive seating (most effective with backs), should take advantage of views. Furthermore, for practicality, water fountains are best near active areas, and trash receptacles (with their unwanted bees), should never be positioned too close to seating.

Easy Being Green

From biking for energy conservation to biodegradable doggie waste bags, the push for environmentally-friendly products continues. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that perhaps the hottest site furnishing around the country is the recycling receptacle. "In every municipality, recycling is really big," said Michele Zirtzlaff, associate marketing manager with a Wisconsin-based manufacturer of waste and recycling receptacles. But she added that for this particular site furnishing it is important that a manufacturer be able to customize. "In addition to customizing logos and decals, you need different options to fit different municipal rulingsā€”customers might need a recycle bin for mixed items or sorted by aluminum and glass."

MacLean agreed, noting that customization is something he looks for in a manufacturer, along with a record of good customer service and products made with recycled material (a particularly important selling point).

"The recycling thing is enormous. We are recycling everywhere, indoors, outdoors, so we're purchasing containers solely for recycling. That's gone through the roof," MacLean explained. "We even have a green committee made up of employees to find ways to make things more green." But although MacLean's passion for green stems from a genuine sense of duty as custodians of the land, he also appreciates the monetary savings that often go with it.

Save Smart

Buying local, for example, not only cuts down on needless fuel emissions, it also supports the local economy and saves on transportation costs. It's a win-win. But there are other ways to save money by making smart choices. One of the most notable is buying high-quality, durable products that will last longer, be more cost-effective over time as well as save money in labor costs because they require fewer repairs and replacements.

"With park and recreation clients, cost and durability/maintenance are their highest priority," Dalziel said, giving some examples of durable materials. "As far as the furnishings, powder-coated or plastisol-coated furnishings give nice color and rugged durability."

Citing non-wood items as his typical first choice for durable surfaces, Dalziel added that they also put furnishings on concrete surfaces to make them easier to clean, more likely to remain level and ultimately, easier to remove if they become damaged.