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Sutton Park
Sutton Park
November 25, 2013 7:00 AM CST

The functionality of pavers

Sutton Park renovations


Decades ago, in every small town in America, the local high school was the center of the community. You attended the school, graduated from there, and then sent your kids there. And, on Friday nights, the football team and the marching band drew you back once again, to build memories that would last a lifetime.

In Palmetto, Fla., the high school in the central business district is no more. On the site of the former football field, the city has built Sutton Park, which is a place where those who used to stand and cheer now bring their children and grandchildren to learn how to ride a bicycle, watch an outdoor movie or await Santa Claus during the annual Christmas parade.

The park was named for Ben Sutton, a 1964 graduate of the high school, who was killed in the Vietnam War. The park was built to honor all military veterans. Sutton Park is adjacent to Lamb Park, and the two form a central green-space corridor within the central business district.

An award-winning success

As it turns out, both the town and the larger landscape and hardscape design community are seeing Sutton Park as a success. The installation won a Gold Award from the Brick Industry Association’s Brick In Architecture national competition – Paving & Landscape Architecture category. The award honored architecture firm Moore2Design LLC, landscape architect Allison-Gause, builder Stellar Development, brick manufacturer Pine Hall Brick Co., distributor Ruck Brothers/Oldcastle Coastal, and mason contractor Timo Brothers Paving.

Designers began by carefully considering the area. Located on the Manatee River on Florida’s west central coast, Palmetto recalls its agricultural history, while expanding into new industries that will create jobs for future generations. Palmetto is an idyllic suburb to nearby cities Tampa, St. Petersburg and Bradenton.

During the run-up to the design process and throughout the design process, three main themes emerged. First, the designers wanted to incorporate green construction into the design. Second, specific emphasis was placed on minimizing stormwater runoff, which traditionally flowed untreated into the Manatee River, causing flooding during heavy rains.

Finally, the designers wanted the park to be part of a larger effort to increase the use of the downtown core by building a family-friendly environment that would both reflect and embrace the history of the town.

Step by step

For the first priority involving green construction, the design included permeable pavers, LED lighting, drought-tolerant landscaping and a low-volume irrigation system using treated effluent. The second set out to minimize stormwater runoff. A total of 23,000 square feet of StormPave permeable pavers from Pine Hall Brick Co. was specified. The pavers provided a way to treat stormwater on site in a way that was durable enough to withstand both pedestrian and vehicular traffic, while remaining inexpensive to maintain. Several heavy rainfalls, including one tropical storm, tested the StormPave installation, and it worked flawlessly.

For the third, to build a family-friendly atmosphere, function drove form. The project needed to serve multiple uses, including a raised parade viewing platform, a concert stage, movies in the park, festivals and other uses. As Palmetto continues to revitalize its downtown, a jogging and bicycle path is being developed. As part of the design, paver patterns were altered to help steer pedestrian and bicycle users in separate directions.

In terms of appearance, the aesthetics of the pavers are an advantage. The variety of colors allowed design flexibility, both in how the project looked and in how it allowed for the creation of gathering areas. Designers used concentric circles and other patterns to subliminally guide visitors around the park. Contrasting pavers, not paint, are used to mark parking spaces.

The aesthetics also sent a message about Palmetto. The goal was to reflect the values of the town, such as the importance of family and of enduring traditions. That sense of tradition so unique to Palmetto is spelled out in the use of clay brick columns and StormPave pavers, which are being used in other projects in the area.

The idea? The projects are expected to be in place for decades, so the materials selected to build them were chosen intentionally for their durability. Because the color goes all the way through, chemical sealants – and their possible environmental effects – are avoided. Maintenance costs will always be minimal. The clay bricks and clay pavers carry the promise that they’ll be there today, tomorrow and decades into the future, just like the town of Palmetto.

About the Author

Masonry, the official publication of the Mason Contractors Association of America, covers every aspect of the mason contractor profession - equipment and techniques, building codes and standards, business planning, promoting your business, legal issues and more. Read or subscribe to Masonry magazine at


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