One of our newest lines of metalworking is municipal street furniture, which we began in 2009 when our local downtown association began a project to replace the trash receptacles in the downtown area. When I first heard about the idea, I asked to be considered for the project, and when I was later asked to submit a bid, they provided a photo of an off-the-shelf can they found in a catalog as an example of what they were looking for.
“If you want that,”” I said, “just order it from the manufacturer and be done with it. But instead, let me design something that will be different from anything else on the market.”
My prototype of the first receptacle was designed using a 30-gallon Rubbermaid insert can as a starting point. To make the receptacle fit the local downtown environment, local artist Austin Smith and I talked about incorporating architectural fixtures from local buildings into each design. We originally talked about five or six different designs out of the 50 to be built, but I wound up including architectural details of several buildings in each can design. Of course, this created a lot more work for me, but having a different image on each unit has given the downtown area a very distinctive flair.
After we began rolling out the trash receptacles, the Ellensburg Downtown Association began discussing the addition of street planters. At first, we talked about creating three round planters to form a set, but the design turned out to be too expensive. Maybe a rectangle shaped planter would work better. Again, using accents from the local buildings, we slowly began shaping a new design, one that was heavy duty, yet movable, as was the original intent, and with a replaceable liner.
Next came the benches. J. Dub’s took on the design process after other efforts faltered, and again, we used shapes from 420 different buildings for the patterns on the end of the benches.
In all, this project was a little scary for me. My work would be everywhere in the town I’ve called home for the past 40 years. What if there was a bunch of negative feedback? As luck would have it, that hasn’t happened yet. The response from most folks has been very flattering, and the project has even earned an award from the Washington Main Street Program.
It feels good to be able to design and build something that adds a positive look to your downtown. I’m sure we can do the same for your town as week. So give me a call if you’re interested in obtaining a quote or creating a prototype that people can see, touch, and comment on as part of the design process.
Design begins with a 30-gallon Rubbermaid trash can. The diameter of the receptacle is determined by the diameter of the handles of the can. That leaves an area around the can that trash could fall into. To counter that, the hoops are designed to funnel trash into the can. The lid has a larger diameter to help keep rain out of the can. The body of the can is split in half. One side being the door which has a magnetic lock. The base has 4 adjustable feet with holes for anchoring. The complete receptacle is made from 10-gauge plate steel and 1″ x 1″ tubing.
Planters can be designed using any patterns found in your local architecture. The basic planter outline can be a variety of shapes. The ends are cut from 3/8″ plate steel, with 2″ solid balls for feet. The sides are 10-gauge panels trimmed with 1″ x 1″ tubing. Each planter features a replaceable liner made from 16-gauge plate steel. The top trim is made of a 1 1/2″ x 1/4″ hammered strap attached with stainless steel screws. The planters are about 5 feet long and 16″ wide.
Benches are made from 3/8″ plate steel ends and 1″ x 1″ tubing frame. The bench sides can be designed using shapes and patterns found in your local architecture. Benches are approximately 5 feet long. The seat and back are made using Fiberon composite decking material, which provides great longevity. However, if you prefer real wood, we also have that available. Bench designs can be altered to fit any situation.