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North Shelby Baptist Church - Playground - Birmingham, AL

Interlocking Playground Tiles the Newest Innovation in Fall Safety



By Brett Hart

As Hoppy Bishop began looking for a better solution to the problems with poured-in-place playground surfaces, he came across Greatmats' Interlocking Rubber Playground Tiles and was impressed by the progress made in fall protection and longevity.

The owner of 1-Stop Playgrounds for the past 8 years, Hoppy said, ''There's no perfect material for fall protection for playgrounds. The options have not been very good. The most expensive option has been poured in place rubber. They have problems with water bubbling up in it, or short life, a number of different things. It's just not a very good solution.''

After previously owning businesses in the industrial supply and publishing industries, Hoppy developed a background with rubber materials before retiring in 2008. That's when he opted to enter the playground flooring industry in Alabama and surrounding states.

''Rather than sitting down and dying, I started doing this,'' he said. ''I do it for fun and money.''

1-Stop Playgrounds had installed nearly 25 playgrounds and one of the latest was for North Shelby Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Although the church had originally been looking for a poured in place playground flooring, Hoppy convinced the decision makers that interlocking rubber playground tiles were the best way to go.

''This is new technology,'' he said. ''This is what's coming. If you do this, you're going to have something that's unique, that looks different than everything else that's out there and it gives you some opportunities to build in some longevity with a surface that far exceeds what you're going to get with pour in place. You're not going to be worried about replacing it 5-6 years down the road.''

So Hoppy turned to Greatmats and ordered more than 1,500 square feet of American-made 2x2 foot 2.5 inch interlocking playground tiles, which feature a 6 foot critical fall height rating and 10 year warranty.

''Greatmats did a good job of supplying samples and answering my questions,'' he said. ''I was able to use installers who had never done this. I didn't have to go back to the people that typically did poured in place and I felt like it was competitive from the standpoint of price. It went together as we had hoped it would.''

As for the look of the new style of playground surface, Hoppy says people are telling him, ''Hey, this is the prettiest playground I've ever seen.''

''It is attractive, and it does look different,'' he said. ''We do think its a step in the right direction and it'll answer a lot of problems.''
Hoppy Bishop
North Shelby Baptist Church
Birmingham AL 35242
For more on this topic please review our Playground Rubber Safety Surfaces product page.