A lightning-fast upgrade: First Street, Downtown Phoenix

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The City of Phoenix recently spent over a half-million dollars on street improvements, decorative sidewalks, new trees and pedestrian-friendly upgrades along First Street in downtown. The goal was to make the area more pedestrian friendly and inviting to convention attendees and tourists.firststreet3*304

The First Street road and sidewalk improvements run from Washington to Moreland Street and include 86 of our SeaCrest Series planters with built-in container irrigation. A similar quantity of pots was required for a different streetscape area as well. The SeaCrest Series is made differently than most other collections we feature here – they are rotationally molded of linear low-density polyethylene plastic (instead of FRP fiberglass or GFRC concrete). This allows us to make the SeaCrest as a double-wall unit, and integrate the self-watering system.

IMG_2674The city contractor who contacted us wasn’t specifically looking for the SeaCrest Series pots.  Instead, they approached us with a very tight deadline to get pots into place. Because a project of this size is made to order, and the FRP and GFRC process is relatively slow (one pot per mold per day), we needed a solution that could be turned around faster. When rotationally molding, we can make up to 5-6 pieces per day. The throughput of the process allowed us to get the project done on time.

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We also had to custom blend the material to match our painted apple color. There are two different ways to match colors in plastic – use an integrally colored base material, or “dry blend” pigment in with naturally translucent base material. The nature of the exposure, abuse, longevity and color consistency demanded we use the more time- and cost-intensive integrally colored material. We received the order on the 10th of the September, and were able to ship the entire project within 30 days – thanks to our hardworking manufacturing team.

The transformation must have helped – First Street has been transformed  into a pedestrian promenade that celebrates food and art in the desert during their Feast on the Street.

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The day that we were taking the pictures happened to coincide with watering day. Given that the city had paid for the benefit of our unparalled container irrigation system, we were curious to see if they were using it. Answer: No.  The young man (below) uses the browse head to water the plants, ignoring the tamper resistant stopper and the reservoir. It is one of the more frustrating parts of our business – you can lead a horse to water, but you just can’t make them drink.  This probably could be laid at our door – maybe we didn’t do enough to train them on the use of the system. Nevertheless, the watering system is tailor-made for a place like Phoenix, and it seems a waste that it isn’t being used.

At least the product design delivers value. The double-wall provides insulation for the plants from the hot desert air, and the durable plastic will hold up to anything that the street throws at it. We were glad to help the city when they needed the material, and pleased it looks so good!

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