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This is the official blog of the City of Lakeland, Florida. Check back frequently to stay up to date with all that going on in our beautiful city!

Sunflower Preschool Playground Honored by Synthetic Turf Council

The Synthetic Turf Council recently announced its Search for the Real Field of Dreams Contest winners and the National Finalist Honors went to the City of Lakeland Parks & Recreation Department in Lakeland, Florida for Sunflower Preschool Playground in Barnett Family Park.  As the first multi-colored grass playground nationwide, the unique  playground  provides thousands of toddlers and their families age-appropriate developmental play experiences, accessibility for strollers and wheelchairs, and a creative play space to spark the imagination.

Bill Tinsley, Director of the City of Lakeland Parks & Recreation Department said, “We were very honored and surprised last year when Common Ground Park was announced as the grand prize winner of the Real Field of Dreams Contest by the Synthetic Turf Council but now to have two of our parks recognized as Field of Dream winners is unbelievable.”  He added, “I believe we are the only Parks Department that has been recognized two consecutive years through the Real Field of Dreams program.”

Sunflower Preschool Playground is the newest addition at Barnett Family Park on Lake Mirror that is specifically designed for children 3-5 years old.  The park features age appropriate equipment that provides maximum early childhood developmental and play opportunities. Sunflower Playground includes a bright and colorful pallet of play equipment selected for imagination qualities, the ability to provide physical development and most important, fun! 

The development and funding of Sunflower Preschool Playground is modeled after the successful Common Ground that continues to provide inclusive play for thousands of children each week.  Sunflower Playground is the second community lead parks project for the City of Lakeland.

“Our annual contest recognizes synthetic turf athletic fields, parks and playgrounds in the U.S. and Canada that have made an exceptional impact on their local communities,” said Rick Doyle, President of the Synthetic Turf Council. 

The Synthetic Turf Council created its annual Search for the Real Field of Dreams to recognize the power that synthetic turf has to transform the lives of youth and enhance public wellness.  Independent judges for the 2011 Search included Lisa Speckhardt of Landscape Architecture magazine, Christine Sima of Parks and Rec Business and Ron Hall, of TURF Magazine. Visit to review the full story on each winner.


The Synthetic Turf Council was founded in 2003 to promote the industry and to assist buyers and end users with the selection, use and maintenance of synthetic turf systems in sports field, golf, municipal parks, airports, landscape and residential applications.  The organization is also a resource for current, credible, and independent research on the safety and environmental impact of synthetic turf.  Membership includes builders, landscape architects, testing labs, maintenance providers, manufacturers, suppliers, installation contractors, infill material suppliers and other specialty service companies.


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