While the Chastain Park Conservancy worked with play consultants and community school children to design all of the playground’s play structures, landscape architect Bill Caldwell was tasked with creating a site design that would make the most of the available space. To achieve this, Caldwell contracted renown water resources engineer consultant, Bill Jorden, to help develop the stormwater management plan to meet all of Atlanta’s stringent ordinances for stormwater runoff quality and quantity.
In addition, more than 8,000 square feet of permeable walkways control the amount of rainwater runoff that rolls downhill, which alleviates erosion problems. “An impervious system would have caused a concentration of water flow to the lower elevations, which would have generated more runoff than the original site,” Caldwell said.
Caldwell also notes that the Belgard pavers and retaining walls allowed him to create the playground out of what was formerly unusable space. “I love the fact that we took a hillside with a 12- to 15-degree slope that was basically non-functional and turned it into a one-acre parkland that is a highly functional and usable space, and has become a high-value component of the park,” he said.
“We created something out of nothing.” And what Caldwell considers the best part… this playground was designed by kids for kids, regardless of age or abilities. The entire playground is ADA compliant, with multiple handicap accessible play elements.
“Even the texture of the paver walkway adds a sensory element for children with sensory disabilities, which is not something they would get with a smooth poured concrete sidewalk. Addressing disabilities of multiple spectrums was always part of the discussion from the beginning,” Caldwell said.