Kids’ Park Aids in Redevelopment of Downtown Bellflower
The city of Bellflower, California upholds the mission “to protect and enrich the quality of life, to make Bellflower an excellent place to live, work, and play.” The city values programs that nurture new businesses provide recreational and community services, preserve the environment and provide for the wellbeing of Bellflower residents. From the 1950s through the late 1960s, downtown Bellflower was a thriving mecca for shopping with numerous retail and franchise restaurant firms opening for business on the town’s namesake boulevard. But by the 1980s, competition from area malls was taking its toll, and downtown businesses were largely abandoned.
In recent years, however, economic development has taken center stage, and city officials have placed high emphasis on a regeneration of this once booming community hub. The town’s redevelopment plan included the addition, expansion, and refurbishing of more than 25 acres of park and open space across all areas of the municipality.
In July 2007, PLAYTIME designed and installed Pirate Park in downtown Bellflower to support the city’s revitalization project. This 4000 sq. ft. fully enclosed park features a pirate-themed playground that includes a pirate ship, fort, skull cave, climbing bridge, treasure chest, and more. After 11 years, PLAYTIME returned to see the effect the project had on the community. PLAYTIME’s mission is to positively impact kids, families, and businesses through the immersive experiences it creates with its innovative designs. With Pirate Park, the company met its goals.
Economic Development Program Increases City Attraction
Bellflower had been interested in a revitalization of its downtown for many years, and Pirate Park played an important role in the town’s renaissance. Prior to Pirate Park being installed, the space was just a parking lot. Further, building the PLAYTIME Pirate Park augmented the city’s objectives to implement a more health-conscientious culture.
“PLAYTIME did a great job working with all the different city departments,” says PJ Mellana, Director of Parks and Recreation. “Now, we get a lot of visitors to the park and downtown.”
The city’s economic development program operates with the purpose of attracting new restaurants and businesses to the area. Through this program, Bellflower absorbs all city fees associated with the processing of a Conditional Use Permit (CUP). As a result, Bellflower has seen more than $60 million dollars of direct investment into the community since 2011, including the construction of Auto Zone, Grifol’s Biomet USA, and the Kaiser Permanente offices. The city has taken the lead in serving its local merchants by creating an economically vibrant atmosphere in which local businesses are able to thrive and grow.
Durability Has Led to A Self-Sustained Park
Today, Pirate Park retains both its physical appeal and structural integrity. The durability of the play area is due to the integration of GFRP (Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer) in PLAYTIME’s design elements.
“This was a cornerstone back in 2007 when we couldn’t get anyone to come downtown and start new businesses,” says Ray Dunton, Mayor, city of Bellflower, CA. “PLAYTIME actually did an excellent job of building that custom park. The play elements that are in this park are one of a kind. You have children, you have grandparents. It’s a nice place to bring your kids.”
By creating a space for families to enjoy memorable experiences that can be shared together, PLAYTIME helped the City of Bellflower exceed its revitalization goals. After 11 years, Pirate Park is a huge success—kids jump, climb, slide, and crawl over, on, and throughout PLAYTIME’s unique outdoor play elements, stimulating activity, wonder, and curiosity that will sustain the city and its youth for years and generations to come.
Visit PLAYTIME to learn more about how their innovative dry and water play elements can revitalize parks, cities, retail spaces, healthcare organizations, and more.