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Choosing Wheelchair Accessible Picnic Tables - Wednesday, January 4, 2017


Choosing ADA Compliant Wheelchair Accessible Picnic Tables 

Many public and private facilities strive to provide access for all individuals, including those that have disabilities requiring the use of a wheelchair. Whether you are required to offer accessibility or you simply choose to do so, you may find yourself populating outdoor seating areas with picnic tables for recreational use.

In this case, you'll have to include wheelchair accessible picnic tables, and not just any product will do.Here are just a few things you'll want to consider when choosing the right picnic tables.

ADA Compliance

The Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA) spells out rules and regulations related to making facilities accessible to those with disabilities, including the use of wheelchairs. In addition to providing ramps and making sure doorways and halls are wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs (among other building specifications), you may be required to provide picnic tables on the grounds that meet ADA requirements.

If this is the case, you need to make sure the wheelchair accessible picnic table you choose is compliant with ADA guidelines. Simply choosing a product labeled as handicap or wheelchair accessible may not be enough.

Clearance

Whether you need to comply with ADA requirements or not, the guidelines provided by this organization do give you a place to start when it comes to making sure you select products that offer adequate space to accommodate the majority of wheelchair users. Clearance is especially important when ensuring that wheelchair users are able to make use of picnic tables.

 

Generally speaking, it is recommended that tables offer knee clearance of 27 inches high, 30 inches wide,and 11 inches deep for wheelchair users, as well as toe clearance of 9 incheshigh, 30 inches wide, and 17 inches deep. Further, there must be clear ground space of 30 inches by 48 inches for wheelchair seating, not to mention a proper pathway for wheelchairs to reach seating space.

 

Ample Seating and Selection

When planning for wheelchair accessible seating at picnic areas, picking the appropriate picnic tables means not only choosing tables that have spaces for wheelchairs (as well as seats for non-wheelchair users), but also ensuring that there is ample seating so that groups with both wheelchair and non-wheelchair users have options for seating.

You may want to choose tables that offer multiple spots for wheelchair users, instead of just a single spot. Or you might want to provide a variety of tables for different size groups, such as tables that accommodate a group of four, as well as those suitable for larger parties. This ensures that wheelchair users have many options for seating and there is less chance they may have to sit separately from part or all of their group.

Usage

When choosing wheelchair accessible picnic tables, it's important to keep usage in mind. Who will be using these picnic tables? An elementary school, for example, may want different products than an office structure or a retirement community.

The products you choose, including sizing and construction materials, should reflect the intended usage and properly accommodate the wheelchair and non-wheelchair users most likely to utilize picnic areas.

Picnic Furniture offers a wide range of ADA compliant wheelchair accessible picnic tables  for your school, park, or public facility. If you have any questions on selecting the right model please call our expert staff today and we will be happy to assist. 

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Announcing our November "Educational Support" Winner! - Friday, December 2, 2016


Announcing our November "Educational Support" Winner!  

Happy Holidays from your friends at Picnic Furniture!

Over the last month we have invited schools and universities across the nation to enter into our monthly drawing for FREE product in support of the faculty and students that make up our educational institutions. To be a part of this contest simply register on our website during the next month and you will be automatically entered into the drawing. 

This month, we are proud to announce the winner of our first ever drawing! The winner for the Month of November is: Valley Central School District in Montgomery, NY.

Congratulations! They will have the option to select a free 4 ft. "Buddy Bench", a custom personalized bench, or a 32 gallon trash receptacle to be sent to their school in support of the students and faculty. We will be in touch with the winner shortly via telephone to confirm the order details.

Don't worry if your school was not selected! You will be automatically entered into next months drawing and have the chance to win some free product for your school all the way through February! We appreciate every individual who took the time to register with us and enter their school into our monthly drawing. Best of luck to all of you next month!

Picnic Furniture, a DBA of Furniture Leisure Inc. has been honored to work with many great schools and universities across our nation and we look forward to many more years serving the faculty and staff that drive these great institutions.

Best wishes to you and your students through this holiday season!       


Paul Hart
President
Picnic Furniture

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Thermoplastic Picnic Tables Prevents Offensive Graffiti in Parks and Schools - Monday, November 21, 2016

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Whether you’re a school administrator or local park official, you may have experienced the frustration of finding graffiti in the spaces where you work. This type of vandalism can take the form of larger tags and painted slogans, but more often graffiti doesn’t even implicate spray cans. Some of the most harmful graffiti can come from a simply a pen or carving tool, effectively destroying your wooden tabletops as well as the perceived image of the community. From commercial picnic tables to school desks, this type of graffiti can destroy the appearance of your school yards and parks just as quickly as larger, more obvious acts of vandalism.

Where Innovation Meets Need: Prevention Through Design

While there have been cases in which schoolyard vandals have been prosecuted, as in the vandalism case of the Marion Police Department in Knoxville, TN, these instances are few and far between. The truth of the matter is that it’s difficult to notice these smaller acts of vandalism, especially in crowded classrooms or busy Sundays at the park. With children of all ages carrying pens or even pocketknives, it becomes nearly impossible to prevent graffiti through intervention. The more effective option, perhaps, is a very different kind of prevention.

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Thermoplastic picnic tables offer one very compelling answer to the issue of graffiti on public-use furniture. The durable coating resists typical weathering as well as sharp objects like knives or pen tips. The typical mesh-like design surface of the thermoplastic table also leaves vandals with no real surface to write on, which means they may not even attempt to scratch or write on your new furniture.

Benefits Beyond Vandalism Resistance

Aside from preventing direct damage, thermoplastic picnic tables also stand up long-term against outdoor weather and routine wear. Because the steel frame is completely covered with thermoplastic or powder coating, your outdoor tables, trash cans, and benches are rust resistant and hold up to rain, snow, sleet, and sun. Our thermoplastic is also UV-resistant and won’t fade after prolonged exposure to damaging rays. In other words, say goodbye to the old wooden tables of yesteryear that rot and splinter—vandal resistant thermoplastic marks the future of smart furniture design. If the worst-case scenario happens and you find someone has spray-painted your table or bench, simply wipe away the offending marks by spraying the area with WD-40 and wiping it down with a clean rag.

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Hold On—What is Thermoplastic?

Thermoplastic is a polymer resin that is applied at high temperatures to create a smooth, even coating over things like steel furniture frames. This heavy-duty finish is non-porous, which means that it won’t mold, mildew, rot, rust, or crack. It’s also more durable than PVC alternatives, which may drip or run. When you’re designing your outdoor space with longevity in mind, high-quality thermoplastic material offers the greatest return on your investment, as it will far outlast traditional benches and tables.

For the ultimate graffiti-resistant solution to your school tables, park benches, and more, thermoplastic outdoor furniture makes the most sense. Stop wasting money replacing your weathered and marked furniture by investing in a solution that saves you time, money, and frustration.



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World's Longest Picnic Table: Attempt to Break Guinness World Record - Wednesday, September 21, 2016

On September 24th 2016, just two days after the official start of fall, members of the community-based Colorado nonprofit group Leadership Evergreen will attempt to smash the Guinness world record for the longest park picnic table. As it stands, the record was set recently by the German-based company, Arla Foods on July 10th, 2016 when their employees constructed an outdoor picnic table that measured a whopping 694 feet and 11.35 inches. At the length of two soccer fields, this Muenster-sized table required over 6,035 feet in wood and 5,000 screws. In an effort to take the title, Colorado’s fearless cohort of volunteers and donors aim to surpass their German competitors—and hopefully with some room to spare.
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Current World Record Longest Picnic Table
Münster, Germany
July 10th, 2016

The building process and subsequent unveiling will take place at Buchanan Park, located within the town limits of Evergreen, CO, where food, fun and celebration will ensue. Until then, however, the 2015 graduating class of Leadership Evergreen has their hands full laying tabletop planks and attaching crosspieces to ensure the same safety and stability of commercial picnic tables. While drills whirl and hammers swing, one question remains:

Why spare the time and resources?

While Leadership Evergreen has not made a specific statement as to the eventual use of the finished project, it’s clear that their commitment to community building remains at the heart of their Guinness World Record initiative. Aside from putting a small town on the map, this grand gesture will undoubtedly bring Evergreen residents closer to each other—and to the stunning foothills of their surrounding landscape.

All of this seems to align beautifully with the nonprofit’s mission to “broaden community awareness, strengthen leadership and team-building skills and to engage our graduates as proactive community participants” (LeadershipEvergreen.org). In other words, this record is just as much about the process as it is about the eventual glory of bringing a very specific accomplishment to U.S. soil.

As for what will become of the world’s new longest park picnic table, it’s doubtful that park officials will leave it in place after the inaugural community meal, due to its central location across the park’s otherwise functional sports fields. Depending upon the method of construction, the massive woodworking project may be well suited to giving back to the community in another way: by cutting it down to provide new school picnic tables to local students. Regardless of its ultimate purpose, this ambitious undertaking sets a new precedent for community empowerment and local initiative building.

Given the fast pace at which the last record was overcome, it’s unclear how long this small town in Colorado will hold the coveted title. Before Germany, the record for the longest picnic table was achieved in Kuwait on March 11th, 2016—a mere four months before Alta Food’s successful attempt in Muenster. Despite this quick turnover, one thing remains clear: for a small town in Colorado, the effects of this experience will far outlast the pomp and circumstance of any official title.

Follow the World’s Longest Picnic Table on Facebook for updates, photos, and post-event news.




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Pokemon Go Guide For Parks & Businesses - Tuesday, August 9, 2016


5 tips on how to enhance your business using Pokemon Go


Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm and was recently ranked the most popular game in U.S. History! This may seem like just a silly game to some but there are massive implications in how this technology can affect businesses and parks around the world. Already we are seeing reports of how the Pokemon Go game has elevated traffic in just about every park and downtown area across the nation as eager hunters search for their next Pokemon catch! Here is just one example highlighting the power of this phenomenon: Pokemon Go Boosts attendance, doubles membership at Phoenix Zoo.

This article is a quick guide offering 5 tips on ways that Parks and Business can prepare for the influx of traffic at their locations and also offers creative tips on how to attract more players to your business.

TIP #1: Do Not Dismiss It!



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Pokemon Go players in Bellevue Washington Park



It seems easy to dismiss the Pokemon Go trend as the current flavor of the week, however with a few simple steps you can start attracting players to your business immediately.

Start by keeping signs outside your venue welcoming the players in and offering free Wi-Fi and charging stations for Pokémon players to find respite at your business. Without phone battery players simply cannot play so offering free charging stations is a great simple method to get in on the Pokemon craze! This will also keep people in your park or business and while you’re at it, why not make them feel welcome with some special Pokémon deals!

Pokemon Go is just the beginning of Augmented Reality taking hold and while it may not last forever, it will be important for Parks and Business to keep an eye on the “next big thing” in AR technology and how it can enhance their relationship with their customers.

TIP # 2: Lures, They’re not just for fish anymore! 

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For the more advanced Pokemon Go strategist you might consider purchasing what are called “Lure Modules” in the game. Lures are an item that attracts players to specific location where an excess of Pokemon can be found. These in game items are one of the greatest things you can do for your location, not only does it attract Pokémon but Pokémon trainers as well! Plus, these items are cost effective, $100can buy you enough lures in game for 840 hours of lure time. This can open a door to a plethora of huge ideas and business for you. Here is an article describing what Orlando Businesses have seen by using these Lures to attract players to their business: Pokemon lures attract more than cartoons to Orlando businesses

TIP #3: Prepare your location!

If you follow the advice suggested above you might find yourself with a influx of traffic that your business will need to be prepared to handle. Here is a video of THOUSANDS playing Pokemon Go at Bellevue Park:




It will be important to make sure your business has an adequate number of trash receptacles available on site so Pokemon Go players do not have to lose a valuable hunt while looking for a place to put their trash. More traffic always means more litter and there are already reports of increased litter at parks that Pokemon Go players frequent. In some locations however players have banded together to clean up after themselves and not leave a bad impression on the community: Pokemon Go players take ownership of local parks

You may also want to consider adequate seating to accommodate your increase in traffic. Using lures will attract a crowd, so making sure you have enough seating for your Pokemon Go players and your customers is key. If you have an outdoor patio, you may consider picnic tables and umbrellas to provide shade to your customers. For parks and churches, ensure there are benches for Pokemon Go player's to have a place to take a break from their pokemon training!

TIP #4: Pay attention to your location!

This tip is dependent on where you are located on the in-game map and what landmarks you are near but if you find yourself near a Pokémon Gym, take advantage of it! You can advertise that fact on your social media channels and offer discounts to players or “teams” that are near that location. For example, you may offer a free drink or discount to someone who drops a lure at your location. Many restaurants have been able to increase customers when they are near one of these valuable locations and they have been smart to promote their location and connect with players.

But, if your location isn’t a Pokémon gym or near one, there are a lot of other engaging activities you can do to be active with your patrons. For instance, your business or park can hold a neighborhood Pokémon Hunt on foot starting and finishing at your location. Be sure to have a few lures to use on the walk or set them up before hand. Have your employees all in business garb for advertising and branding. This will be a good way to promote your business to the community while also having fun!
We hope you found these tips helpful to your business or park location. If you find yourself with an overflow of Pokemon Go players such as here at Bellevue park our staff will be ready to reinforce your location with whatever site amenities you need!



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The Bench Traveler - Monday, December 28, 2015


The Bench Traveler



Picnic Furniture provides benches to many venues around the world. You will find our benches in schools, parks, residential communities, and restaurants. Benches are a part of our everyday lives and we recognize the value of a well placed bench! Our owner John Gravlee has catalogued some of the more unique benches he has seen while traveling the globe. Please enjoy our article below and feel free to browse our wide selection of commercial outdoor benches.

Traveling provides many many photo opportunities for the amateur photographer that sells benches for a living. The benches in these pictures can be found from New Smyrna Beach Florida to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. So let’s explore benches together...


Contemplation


picAmsterdam is a fabulous place to visit. Our trip was filled with interesting and beautiful moments. Let’s explore the bench in Amsterdam first. Canals and bicycles are a way of life in this city giving it a presence that is not duplicated anywhere; even Venice. Here is an artistic bench that provides you with charming bronze companion. She doesn’t say much and is not very warm on a drizzly winter day. So if you are all bundles up and enjoy solitude; she’s your girl!

        I don’t know who the author of the quote on the back of this bench is here on one of the canals. However, I searched out the translation on the back of this bench and found it means “To serve God is to serve people, to serve people is serving God”. It is kind of catchy and a nice thought. However, I am not sure I would make this bench just to make that statement unless this bench is memorializing someone; perhaps a Dutch writer. Benches are often used as a memorial as most benches are permanent structures to loosen your load. We will name this bench contemplation bench! Sit on it and think about it for a while.



“Out On A Limb Bench”


picMoving to the other side of the world is natural bench made from the arm of a live oak in a wonderful park named “Deleon Springs” near Deland, Florida. Wow what tree bench; borrowed from “Tree House”. We will name this out on a limb bench! Live Oaks are indigenous to this part of the world and in some case are over two hundred years old. Wikipedia says this about the Live Oak, “Southern live oak is cultivated for shade and as an ornamental. Care is relatively easy, as it requires very little watering while it is young. After it is four to five feet tall, watering can be forgotten, and no more care is required. It is long-lived; trees in excess of 500 years were once common.” Well, I would say this is one of the oldie but goodies and a favorite for this beautiful park in Florida.

        Once again, Wikipedia gives us a great description of Deleon Springs. “The park covers 611 acres (2.4 km²) of Volusia County, built around a natural sulfur spring, flowing at a rate of about 20 million US gallons (76,000 m3) a day, that remains 72 degrees Fahrenheit year-round and reaches a depth of 30 feet (9.1 m) at the spring boil. This is one fabulous park to visit. People swim in the lake created by the spring for a refreshing dip. When you are done swimming, the “make your own pancakes” restaurant is always fun and delicious. While you are visiting go ahead and go out on a limb!



Bench Slippin’ into the Future


   picTraveling to New Orleans gives one a slice of time that is somewhat fluid. The architecture in the French Quarter might make you think it is Europe instead of the central southernmost United States. Oh the food, music and people are like nowhere else on earth! Festivals are a way of life every day. They are either having a festival or getting ready for another one. Mardi Gras is perhaps the most famous even though it did not start in New Orleans. On my birthday March 2 in 1699, French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville arrived at a plot of ground 60 miles directly south of New Orleans, and named it "Pointe du Mardi Gras". Mobile Alabama was the site of the first Mardi Gras. In 1703, the tiny settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile celebrated America's very first Mardi Gras eventually moving to New Orleans and celebrated in the 1730’s. When you go to New Orleans today, the whole town is one constant carnival of Festivals celebrating food, music, art, antiques and bohemian life styles. You can tell that no clock is necessary as the town operates 24 hours 7 days a week. Each morning very early like 7 AM the street cleaners are out cleaning the last night’s party off the sidewalks making way for the party du jour. As I looked at this bench I remembered the song lyrics from Steve Miller Band; “Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’ into the future”. I am calling it the “Bench slippin’ into the future”. Traveling south we find ourselves in a shopping mall in Bogota Colombia with the bench I will call the “Wing bench”. Someone has fashioned wood into what appears to be airplane wings. It is an interesting design as the curve of the winged seat and back give a very comfortable ergonomic rest from shopping.



Wing Bench


picTraveling south we find ourselves in a shopping mall in Bogota Colombia with the bench I will call the “Wing bench”. Someone has fashioned wood into what appears to be airplane wings. It is an interesting design as the curve of the winged seat and back give a very comfortable ergonomic rest from shopping. Bogota is a city that rivals New York City in population with approximately 8 million people. That’s twice the size of Los Angeles! Over the past 10 years, I have watched the city move from human and donkey-drawn carts on the street interspersed with 125 Suzuki’s whining like bee’s through traffic, to BMW’s, Mercedes, Audi’s and new Chevy’s clogging the streets. They alternate license numbers each day to attempt to reduce the traffic. The more affluent Colombians have two cars just to get around this limitation. In the time I have been traveling to Bogota I have looked at the parks and street benches to evaluate the market to sell in Colombia.
        Ten years ago concrete formed into a block was a typical park bench. Today the country is beginning to make and use benches and outdoor furniture that is more contemporary instyle common in Europe and other parts of the world. The “Wing Bench” shows the modernization going on in Colombia. Perhaps there will be a day that Furniture Leisure, Inc. finds Colombia a market to play in. 


Bench Swimming with the Sharks!


picRushing back to Florida; our home and business base in the world, we find ourselves in New Smyrna Beach. This beach town is our most favorite beach in the US. located in north central Florida on the Atlantic, it does not have the Caribbean clear and tranquil waters. However, the beach is fabulous with low tide in the summer often 100 yards of flat gently sloped beach with warm temporary tidal pools of water carved in the sand. People lounge in these pools and children safely play in the powdery white sand. Yes it is known for its sharks and occasional bites but like many unexplained events in life it is also one of the most popular surfing towns on the east coast hosting surfing contests drawing world class surfers. So we will call this bench “Bench swimming with the Sharks”. Just off the beach, New Smyrna Beach provides these decorated benches with the City Seal. This park has covered picnic tables and many benches to enjoy the constant movement of water the ocean provides like a 24/7 water park from nature.
        Just next door is the “Breakers” Restaurant that has some of the best burgers in town and a long counter to just enjoy the view of all the beach fun going on. Way back in the early 2000’s Hurricane Charlie to a swing at this beach town and I saw what the breakers could do. The huge commercial freezer and refrigerators outside in the corner of the parking lot. The morning after Charlie the whole unit crashed down to the surf as the breakers had washed the sand from under the parking lot. What a mess to clean up and return from. Our beautiful beach was washed out to sea and the concrete ramp to the beach was hanging in the breeze! “Bench swimming with the sharks” still stands as it is over 1000 pounds of wind, salt and water resistant concrete. Not hurricane proof but it will take a Cat 3 to 4 to send it out to sea!


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Concrete Care & Maintenance - Thursday, December 17, 2015


Picnic Furniture sells a variety of concrete site furnishings such as trash cans, picnic tables, and benches. Concrete site furnishings and precast concrete items can be easily maintained to preserve the attractive appearance and extend the life of the product. Here are some of the following maintenance procedures to keep your concrete furnishing looking new for the long time that it will be around.


Year Round Maintenance of Concrete



• Power sweep then pressure wash total precast surface. Spot clean any stained areas.

• To clean marks from concrete products, a simple off-the-shelf cleaner will handle most cases.

• These types of cleaners are often classified as neutral, non-aggressive cleaners, and may require effort to remove some of the tougher marks.

• Always start with the most neutral cleaner and work your way toward the more aggressive cleaners.

• Check the precast for broken and chipped pieces. Some pieces may be patched. Notify Picnic Furniture of damaged pieces. We will then assemble and send a patch kit with repair instructions. Please contact us before repairing, and review patching procedures.


Weather Maintenance of Concrete



• Please be sure to use plastic, rubber or nylon tip equipment; this will help prevent scratches on the concrete.

• De-icing salts can damage concrete, causing them to scale or break up. These chemicals should be used sparingly and with caution on our concrete products. No salt-based products should be used. Calcium magnesium acetate and calcium chloride cause the least damage to concrete.

• De-icers should be used only when necessary to help loosen snow and ice, and make removal easier. Never over-apply de-icing products, and remove slush before it has the opportunity to refreeze. Mix the de-icers with sand to increase their effectiveness and reduce overall use. Always read and follow label directions when applying de-icing materials.



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The Buddy Bench - Monday, December 7, 2015


What Is The Buddy Bench?

"The buddy bench is a simple idea to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on the playground. Let's spread the message of inclusion and kindness!" - From The Official Buddy Bench Website

How does the buddy bench work?

If you are sitting on the bench... 

You are looking for a friend to play with. When someone approaches you can join them to play. The rule of the buddy bench is you should not say no to someone who asks you to play.


If you are not sitting on the bench...

Ask your classmate on the buddy bench to play, and make a new friend! Keep growing your circle of friends until everyone is included. Remember to glance over at the school's Buddy Bench to invite new friends to join in on the fun everyday.




Reasons to sit on the buddy bench

1. If you want to make new friends. 

2. If you are new to your school. 

3. If you want to play something different. 

4. If your friends aren't at school that day.


According to an estimate by the U.S. Department of Justice, every seven minutes a child is bullied. Give students a safe space to eliminate loneliness and foster friendships.



The Story

The Buddy Bench began with a first grader in Pennsylvania named Christian when he found out his family may be moving over seas. He approached his school asking for a special bench because he knew there were kids in need of friends. The principal agreed to help him set up a buddy bench at their school, Roundtown Elementary. You can view his story entire story and see photos on the Buddy Bench website.


See our Buddy Bench Category

We offer a variety of Buddy Benches made with thermoplastic coated steel for ultimate protection on the play ground. Our buddy benches are made to withstand heavy use and stay outside year round. We look forward to helping your school or playground get a buddy bench!





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