From the Ground Up

Sept. 4, 2013

Located on the Manatee River, Palmetto, Fla., is a suburb of nearby Tampa, St. Petersburg and Bradenton. The city converted a former high school football field into Sutton Park, which, along with an adjacent park forms a green-space corridor in the central business district.

The challenge in designing the park was twofold. First, the designers wanted to incorporate green construction into the design. Second, a specific emphasis was placed on minimizing storm water runoff, which traditionally flowed untreated into the Manatee River—and which caused flooding during heavy rains.

For the first priority, the design included pervious pavers, LED lighting, drought-tolerant landscaping and a low-volume irrigation system using treated effluent. For the second challenge, StormPave pavers from Pine Hall Brick Co. were specified because they provided a way to treat storm water on site, were durable enough to withstand both pedestrian and vehicular traffic, and were inexpensive to maintain. Several heavy rainfalls, including one tropical storm, tested the StormPave system and it worked flawlessly.

 The variety of colors allowed design flexibility, both in aesthetics and by allowing designers to create gathering areas. Designers used concentric circles and other patterns to subliminally guide visitors around the park. In one example, paver patterns were altered to help steer pedestrian and bicyclists in separate directions.

Because this park is expected to be in place for decades, the town chose to build it with materials that would last. The color in clay bricks and pavers goes all the way through, so they will look the same 50 years from now as they do today, with minimal maintenance costs. 

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