The hillside slide offers a fun, unique feature to space that often goes unused in parks. While all projects require attention to detail and effective communication, hill slides demand an up-close-and-personal relationship with topography and ongoing communication between playground consultant and customer. Here, Steve Hemler, a General Recreation sales consultant, provides his expertise on hill slides.
Elevation. Take elevation shots to understand the rise and run—the slope—of the hill. “It’s very important to continuously understand and work with the hill,” explains Hemler. “We share this information with the Landscape Structures’ engineers who work closely with us to provide the right equipment and configurations.”
Communication. Recreation directors or project managers on the client side need to be aware of how the project is going at all times. Hemler says that it’s best to communicate with and show the customer project progress and potential design changes on site.
Excavation. Slight excavation may be needed to prepare the site even after work begins. “As we get further into the project, we may have to create a berm wall or change the topography of the hill to better accommodate the slide,” says Hemler.
In the case of his recent hill slide project in Dover Township, PA, the new slide replaced a 40-year-old in-ground slide. Kristal Narkiewicz, the Township’s recreation director, says they are very happy with how well the new slide complements the park and how much safer it is.
“For us, the safety surfacing was really important. Steve recommended a poured-in-place playground surface that has solved water run-off issues,” she explains. “We were surprised with how well it worked with the hill’s contour and pleased that we could customize the colors—a blend of green and tan—to mimic grass and sand.”
In addition to IPEMA certification, the slide needed to be a closed tube to prevent skateboarders from skating down it and to have clear panels on top to prevent kids from hiding out in it at night. “Addressing these safety issues were really important to us as we strive to provide a safe environment at all times,” she adds.
“Kristal and her team are the kind of client you want for this project. They were flexible, open-minded, and were available to see the project on a day-by-day basis,” says Hemler.
To learn more about hill slides, contact General Recreation at 1 800-726-4793 or via email.